About Mostly Harmless Ideas

Here’s a short intro to the substack, so you know what you can expect from me.

First, a little bit about myself. I’m a full-time college professor and researcher, working at the intersection between artificial intelligence and formal systems. In this substack, I write about the many things that interest me, from technical topics in algorithms, CS theory, and AI, to more historical or philosophical pieces. I also write opinionated essays on science and education, including occasional rants.

Things I’m writing about

By subscribing, you will receive everything, but I like to keep articles sorted so that you can subscribe to specific topics if you want to. Here’s a TL;DR of each topic:

  • Some general stuff is in the main publication, including cross-posts, interviews, op-eds about recent events, and everything that doesn’t fit the remaining categories.

  • The Essays section contains opinionated short and medium-length essays on science, education, society, life, the universe, and everything else.

  • The Intro to CS section contains posts about clever algorithms, data structures, concepts, and paradigms in Computer Science, emphasizing intuitive ideas over formalism.

  • The Guides section is for guides to different skills. I’m planning to cover varied things, from technical writing to open-source development to how to make a business plan for a tech product.

  • The Great Ideas in CS is a special section for discussing the history of Computer Science, focusing on some of the most beautiful ideas in the field.

  • The Philosophy section is for light posts on some of the most intriguing philosophical aspects of Computer Science.

  • And finally, the Insiders section is for meta posts, discussion threads, news about the substack, etc.

Everything I write in this substack is and will forever be free. I’ve had the incredible fortune of receiving world-class education for free, and this is my humble way of paying a third.

How you can participate

I write for my readers, including you (hopefully), so I’m always interested in hearing your thoughts about my writing. There are, at the moment, three places we can hang out in:

  • Each post has a comments section at the end where you can speak your mind, whether to give feedback, ask for clarifications, or start a discussion related to that post. If you get a post via email, you can directly reply from your email client.

  • There’s also a Chat that you can access on the web or directly in the app, where I’ll be hosting regular conversations around this substack in general, discussing things like which topics interest you the most, what’s your preferred schedule, ideas for collaboration, etc.

  • And finally, there’s the recent Notes section, where you can jump into any conversation started by me or any other Substack user, including yourself. I’ll mostly share the best stuff I read online and sometimes cross-post my stuff.

Ready to sign up?

So now that you know what you find here, I hope I’ve convinced you to stick around. Feel free to browse the archive to make up your mind, or reach out if you want to ask something. And if I’ve convinced you, hit that Subscribe button, and let’s take this relationship to the next step!

PS: If you think some of your loved ones would enjoy reading my stuff, please share this substack with them. Nothing would make me happier!

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Opinions, essays, full-blown technical articles, and short comments on Computer Science research, practice, and education.


Alejandro Piad Morffis

Democratizing knowledge one post at a time. I talk about Computer Science, AI, Education, Philosophy, you know, mostly harmless stuff.