About me

Here’s a short intro to me and the stuff I write about. In case you don’t know me in real life, here’s the best picture I’ve ever been taken:

I don’t often dress like this, but when I do, I take pictures.

First, a little bit about myself. I’m a full-time college professor and researcher, working at the intersection between artificial intelligence and formal systems. In this substack, I write about the many things that interest me, from technical topics in algorithms, CS theory, and AI to more historical or philosophical pieces. I also write opinionated essays on science and education, including occasional rants.


Things I’m writing about

By subscribing, you will receive everything, but I like to keep articles sorted into sections so that you can subscribe to specific topics if you want to.

All my educational content is freely accessible. I mostly write evergreen introductory articles on many topics for all audiences. Feel free to browse the public archive to get a feel for the type of content I make, and here’s a quick

  • The Mostly Harmless AI Newsletter is a bi-weekly deep dive into current AI and Computer Science topics, cutting the signal from the noise and the hype.

  • The Computer Science section contains posts about clever algorithms, data structures, concepts, and paradigms in Computer Science, emphasizing intuitive ideas over formalism.

  • The Coding Lessons section is for technical articles on coding, from beginner to expert level, on many different topics.

  • The Essays section contains opinionated short and medium-length essays on science, education, society, life, the universe, and everything else.

  • The Philosophy section is for light posts on some of the most intriguing philosophical aspects of Computer Science.

  • The Insiders section is mostly for paid subscribers who get access to meta posts, discussion threads, early drafts, and other goodies. I'll tell you more in a second. Occasionally, some critical announcements are published here for everyone.

Finally, there is casual stuff, including cross-posts, interviews, and everything else that doesn’t fit the remaining categories.

Why upgrade to paid?

All the educational content I write in this substack will forever be free. I’ve had the incredible fortune of receiving a world-class education for free, and this is my humble way of paying a third.

But if you want to collaborate with a paid subscription, I can offer you my eternal gratitude and a few ways to enhance the experience of reading Mostly Harmless Ideas.

  • Early access to all content: I’ll send you early drafts of unfinished articles to get your feedback and email you finished articles a week before they go public.

  • Prioritized attention: You can join a private channel in my Discord server where you can ask for help or guidance on any topics in my areas of expertise. I also make regular AMAs for supporters. And you can post on the chat.

  • Unique insider offers for everything I ever decide to publish commercially. At the moment, that includes free and early access to my upcoming book, The Science of Computation, plus any future books, courses, and other premium content and special deals on apps and services I will make.

Founding members get all of the above, but for a lifetime —you pay for the founding plan once, and I’ll extend your subscription forever.

Note that if you are into professional software development, you can probably expense these benefits to your company. I can help you write an email to your supervisor highlighting the professional benefits of a paid subscription.

How you can participate

I write for my readers, including you (hopefully), so I’m always interested in hearing your thoughts about my writing. There are, at the moment, three places we can hang out in:

  • Each post has a comments section at the end where you can speak your mind, whether to give feedback, ask for clarifications, or start a discussion related to that post. If you get a post via email, you can directly reply from your email client.

  • There’s also a Chat that you can access on the web or directly in the app, where I’ll be hosting regular conversations around this substack in general, discussing things like which topics interest you the most, what’s your preferred schedule, ideas for collaboration, etc. Paid subscribers can also post on the chat.

  • And finally, there’s the recent Notes section, where you can jump into any conversation started by me or any other Substack user, including yourself. I’ll mostly share the best stuff I read online and sometimes cross-post my stuff.

Ready to sign up?

So now that you know what you find here, I hope I’ve convinced you to stick around. Feel free to browse the archive to make up your mind, or reach out if you want to ask something. And if I’ve convinced you, hit that Subscribe button, and let’s take this relationship to the next step!

PS: If you think some of your loved ones would enjoy reading my stuff, please share this substack with them. Nothing would make me happier!

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Opinions, essays, tutorials, educational articles, and short comments on Computer Science research, practice, and education.

People

Democratizing knowledge one post at a time. I talk about Computer Science, AI, Education, Philosophy, you know, mostly harmless stuff. Building a community of tech writers on Substack. And now also venturing into creative writing.