I’m Spencer Pearson, a computer science Ph.D. student at U.Washington. Photo on the right.
Everything on this page is up-to-date as of [December 3, 2016].
Things I Get Excited About
- Overcoming cognitive biases and forming correct beliefs. Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality has improved my mind more than anything else in the world, except my closest friends and relatives.
- Tricking my brain into doing what I want it to.
- Math education. I mean, effective communication in general, but especially the oft-botched subfield of math education.
- Statistics and its everyday applications (they do exist! They do!).
- Making it easy to write programs. Computers are taking over the world: therefore, being able to tell them what to do is incredibly powerful, and should be made as easy as possible.
Things I’ve Done
I wrote a super-simple, super-portable GUI library for Python. It has no dependencies (other than Python 2.7 or later), and uses a browser as a front-end, thereby not requiring Qt or wxWidgets or PyObjC or any other low-level libraries that will flood you with abstruse error messages when you try to install them. It has run out-of-the-box on every system I’ve tried it on.
I wrote a library that lets you place figures in standalone Markdown documents. It’s a Pandoc filter that looks for special code blocks, and runs the code in the code blocks to generate an image for the output document. Very simple, very flexible, and I’ve gotten great use out of it.
I graduated from UC Santa Barbara, majoring in Physics and CS. I got accepted to U.Washington, where I now work with Michael Ernst on software-engineering-type stuff. I’m wrapping up a project on fault localization (brief overview, fancy paper, and will soon get my MS and flee academia.