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Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Chris Peterson

Sep 23 2015

How to take the Bebras Computing Challenge this fall

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Prepare for MIT

The Bebras Computing Challenge (American homepage, international homepage) is an international challenge that introduces students to computational thinking. Founded in Lithuania in 2004, it has now spread to more than 30 countries and includes hundreds of thousands of student participants, including ~15k in the United States last year.

Bebras USA is led by Eljakim Schrijvers, the lead coach of the Dutch team at the International Olympiad in Informatics, and Rob Kolstad, the former lead coach of the American IOI team. I first heard about Bebras while hanging out with Rob earlier this summer, and learned more from Kim when I saw him at IOI.

One thing I like about Bebras USA is that it has really has taken root in the midwest and mountain states, which have not historically been as well-served by computer science enrichment programs as the coasts. I like Bebras' focus on accessibility, both in terms of geographic outreach but also its structure of different divisions, beginning... read the post »


Sep 15 2015

Hackapult Sieges The Dome

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Life & Culture

On Friday, September 4th, I arrived in my office shortly after 7AM. One of the lovely things about my office is that I have a window under the Great Dome, overlooking Killian Court. It's a beautiful view, especially in the early rays of daybreak, when the sun strikes my solar-powered prism and sprays rainbows down the walls. While adjusting my standing desk and settling into my morning routine, I looked, as I so often do, out through the trees, onto the lawn, past the enormous catapult, and across the river to — 

past the giant catapult. 


Yes, there was a hack - a hackapult, to be more precise. According to the IHTFP Hack Gallery

In an attempt to answer the age-old question of how hackers manage to access the dome, a multi-part hack appeared on the morning of September 4, 2015 which suggested one method: a catapult, nicknamed the "hackapult", which was used to fling older hacks back on the Great Dome. The hack referenced numerous hacks which have appeared on the Great... read the post »


Sep 10 2015

Meet the (New) Bloggers!

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Life & Culture

In July we posted the blogger application. 88 students began an application, and 69 completed it. A few days ago, Lydia, Kris, Michael, Ceri, Anastassia, Natasha, and I met and we picked five of them to be new bloggers. Here they are - we're super excited to have them on the team! Say hello! 


Anelise N. '19

Dorm: MacGregor

Course: 6

About: Hey guys!

I’ve lived in exactly two places my entire life: my family’s house in Los Angeles (one week and 18 years) and Cambridge, Massachusetts (one week and counting). I love making things from scratch, from food to clothes to what you’re reading right now.

My guiding culinary principle is “Keep calm and add butter”. I design and sew my own clothes, including my winter coat, a 7-pound monstrosity masterpiece lined in electric-blue turquoise fur. And I love the creative process of writing, which has been part of my life for over 7 years, ever since I started writing my own fantasy books and blogging about my projects.

I... read the post »


Sep 8 2015

What I’m Teaching This Fall

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Regular readers may recall that I've been teaching a bit in Comparative Media Studies/Writing. This fall, I'm teaching again, this time a new special topics course called CMS.S62: The Internet as Social Artifact. It meets from 7-10PM on Wednesday nights. Right now, we have 18 students pre-registered for the course, representing 9 different majors and spread more or less evenly across 2016s, 2017s, and 2018s. 

I'm coteaching with Ethan Zuckerman, the Director of the Center for Civic Media, cofounder of Global Voices and MediaCloud, and board member for Ushahidi and Open Society Foundation. You may have seen his TED talk on the importance of diversifying your sources of media:

Ethan and I have been basically thinking about this course as a 'social history of the Internet,' one small part of the larger 'Internet Studies' curriculum developing at MIT (cf. TL Taylor's Networked Cultures, or Abelson/Fischer/Weitzner's Foundations of Internet Policy, both also offered this... read the post »


Aug 24 2015

So apparently the Media Lab figured out how to 3D print glass

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Academics & Research

I saw a tweet from MIT News late last week about how some researchers at MIT, centered at the Mediated Matter group in the Media Lab but including folks from mechanical engineering and the Glass Lab, had figured out a way to 3D print glass. I'd actually seen some objects on display at the Lab back in June, but had no idea how it worked; at first, I didn't even think it was glass, because I didn't think 3D printing glass was even possible. 

a 3D printed glass vessel


Last week, however, Mediated Matter posted an (incredibly satisfying and visually gorgeous) video that shows how the process works: 

GLASS from Mediated Matter Group on Vimeo.

More details from the G3DP project website

Mediated Matter Group in collaboration with MIT's Department of Mechnical Engineering and MIT's Glass Lab. Additional researchers include Michael Stern (MIT MechE), Shreya Dave (MIT MechE), James Weaver (WYSS Institute, Harvard) and Peter Houk (Director, MIT Glass Lab).


... read the post »