- Feb 2023: I have been appointed Academic Director of FSRI at Caltech!
- June 2022: I have been promoted to Teaching Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at Caltech!
- May 2022: I am honored to have been one of the recipients of the EAS New Horizons Award.
- May 2021: I am honored to have been one of the recipients of the inagural CMS and IST Gradient for Change Award.
- May 2021: I am honored to have received the 2021 EAS Northrop Grumman Prize for Excellence in Teaching.
- Feb 2021: I am honored to have been featured in a Caltech news article about how I transitioned my courses online.
My name is Adam Blank, and I am a Teaching Professor in the Department of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at Caltech.
I am non-binary, and my pronouns are they/them. I am neurodivergent and queer. I have generalized anxiety disorder and clinical depression.
I am interested in the teaching and practice of Computer Science. My teaching drives everything that I do, and I love to try new techniques to help students learn in my courses. My research involves using technology, human computation, and collaboration to improve the way that we teach computer scientists at the post-secondary level to everyone. I am also interested in broadening participation in computing; I care deeply that diverse humans feel welcome and included.
CS Option Representative
I am currently the Undergraduate CS Option Representative. For questions related to option administration, please e-mail Carmen Nemer-Sirois who is the option administrator. If you need to make an appointment with me related to my option representative duties, please see the section on "meeting with me" below.
As of January 2018, here's my teaching statement.
As of July 2022, here's my CV.
As of April 2022, here's my DEI Statement.
I can be reached via e-mail at blank at caltech.edu. If you want to meet with me, please see the section on meeting with me below rather than reaching out via e-mail.
Meeting with Me
You can see my schedule here.
Feel free to stop in whenever my door is open; I'm happy to meet with students whenever I have free time.
If you are interested in meeting with me "with no real agenda", I've reserved 30 minutes for "coffee chats" approximately once a day. You can use this link to book a coffee chat.
To see a list of potential reasons to meet with me, go to my meeting site and choose the appropropriate option.
If you would like to request a recommendation, please read my instructions on asking for a recommendation.
LaTeX Tutorial (and the accompanying homework template). Many of the courses I've worked on have required that students submit their solutions using LaTeX; so, I wrote a short tutorial which also acts as a LaTeX reference.
Advice for new TAs. Back when I was TAing, I found that many first-time TAs had no idea what to expect. I've been told this document has helped some people. It offers advice for new TAs who want an idea of what pitfalls to avoid.
How to ask for help. I've found a really common issue for freshmen is that they get stuck for the very first time, and they aren't sure how to get help. This document outlines ways in which students can turn "getting stuck on homework" into a positive experience.
I have previously focused on using technology in concert with pedagogy to make CS courses better.
Projects I have worked on in the past (and, for some, am still working on) include:
- an IntelliJ data structures visualizer for introductory Java programming courses that demonstrates recursion and references effectively.
- a programming language and compiler for teaching introductory discrete mathematics (Setty),
- improving submission, annotation, review, and feedback of proofs (ColorMyGraph and "Whiteboard"),
- using abstract interpretation to help students learn (output and time complexity analysis of programs),
- peer grading of proofs (verifications),
- studying the effects and implementation of formative assessment, and
- modifying production compilers to help students learn.