Alumni Stories: Jack Terwilliger '15

"I'm currently a research engineer at MIT, where I'm studying how humans and AI systems, like self driving cars, can interact and communicate. My Cognitive Science degree prepared me very well for this area of research, since my undergraduate degree and my work both deal with minds brains and programs.

Previously I worked at VideoAmp, ad-tech startup, as a product manager. I designed products which allow advertisers to intelligently target/buy/allocate TV/digital ads. Aside from literacy in computer science and human behavior my science courses provided my, the philosophy courses I took helped my writing and rhetoric, which are are critical skills for any product manager.

I often feel like Cognitive Science allowed me to get the most out of a liberal arts style education. It helped me become a generalist. At the intersection of many fields, I'm able to make connections and communicate across disciplines. Mostly, it helped me find things I am passionate about.

Here a few side CogSci-ish projects of mine, which have gathered some attention:

Deep Traffic: https://selfdrivingcars.mit.edu/deeptraffic/. A game to teach students about Deep Q-learning, a very successful reinforcement learning algorithm.

As a side project I've been creating explorables ( interactive explanations) about computational neuroscience: http://jackterwilliger.com/biological-neural-networks-part-i-spiking-neurons/

My labmates and I organized this lecture series with speakers like Josh Tennenbaum, Stephen Wolfram, Ilya Sutskever, and Christof Koch:
https://agi.mit.edu/

I'd like to continue my education in the Cognitive Sciences, so I'll be applying to grad schools soon."