How a Turing Machine works

Posted in Uncategorized on May 17, 2017 by Brit Cruise

For years I struggled to clarify exactly what a Turing machine needs to do, and more importantly, how Turing conceived of it. Even after I finished a CS degree I wasn’t able to “build one from scratch” because I hadn’t yet independently realized what he had…

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Recently I had a moment of insight and hit on an improved analogy for the “program” of a Turing machine, which Turing describes as “a book”. I took this one step further and clarified that each page in this book can be thought of as a unique state. A page contains a single instruction to follow (which takes the form of a conditional statement). This subtle step is something Turing didn’t include in his paper (instead he skipped ahead and simply refers to it as a ‘big table’, which can be tough to digest at first)

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I feel this is the key to make the mechanism behind Turing machines more concrete and intuitive for the new learner. I hope Turing would approve of my modification to his analogy…and after reading his paper some 20 times, I can say with certainty that he would.

Here is the video on how it all works (this is also the 2nd last video in the CS series)

 

What is a Computer?

Posted in Uncategorized on November 3, 2016 by Brit Cruise

This video was on the tip of my tongue for years, it feels wonderful to finally move on. It features Aristotle, Leibniz, Adam Smith and Charles Babbage. It’s the main “case study” for this series, after which we’ll move into more modern views on computers and computability.

 

Logic, Abstraction and Aristotle

Posted in Uncategorized on August 29, 2016 by Brit Cruise

Posted a new video this week I’m really happy with. It covers abstraction, deduction & syllogisms through the lens of Aristotle’s work on Logic. Now that this video is complete I can finally get to the real meat of this series…. the dream of a “Universal Computer”. This video also features my son Booker, his second appearance in an Art of the Problem video.

What is an Algorithm?

Posted in Uncategorized on May 19, 2016 by Brit Cruise

I’ve seen so many botched, overcomplicated, misconstrued and boring attempts at explaining algorithms to new minds that it was a huge relief to finally finish this video. My goal here is to explain procedural knowledge (know-how) via a thought experiment involving actors. I cover what I consider the two core ideas behind algorithms and where they came from. I also extend the explanation to setup a future video on time/space complexity. You’ll see no mention of while loops, for loops, or bubble sort…horse before cart. This is part 2 in the series on Computer Science.

 

What is Computer Science? (Part 1: declarative knowledge)

Posted in Uncategorized on April 6, 2016 by Brit Cruise

This first video explores declarative vs. procedural knowledge through the lens of the Turing Test & Oracle machines. It’s intended to hook + ground the viewer in some basics before building towards Logic & Turing Machines. After this video we will dive deeper into procedural knowledge via. Algorithms. Then we’ll explore more history (arithmetic vs. formal logic) before building towards 20th Century ideas.

What is Computer Science? (Overview)

Posted in Uncategorized on January 20, 2016 by Brit Cruise

After a long period of research I’m happy to report Art of the Problem’s third episode is in production. This episode will act as the final piece of a CS trilogy. Here is the first video which gives an overview of the series: (or watch on YouTube)

I’ve also published an essay version of this video with extra links below (or read on Medium).


 

Around 100 years ago something really exciting was happening.

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The making of Pixar in a Box

Posted in Research and Projects with tags , , , , , on September 25, 2015 by Brit Cruise

Prehistory

In early 2014 Tony DeRose (Senior Scientist and Lead of the Research Group at Pixar Animation Studios ) and Elyse Klaidman (Director of Pixar University and Archives) approached Khan Academy with an idea. They wanted to answer a question everyone asks in school at some point: “Why do I need to learn this?” Previously, Tony had given talks which try and engage children in mathematics by demonstrating how math lives at the intersection of design and technology at Pixar. It was clear that you could motivate kids to learn math and science by showing them how concepts they encounter in school are used at Pixar to make movie magic… Continue reading