Yan’s Personal Page

Current colonizers of my time:

  • My son Locke is currently my most needy employer. Due to him and a few other things, if I dropped any communication with you in 2019 and on, it’s probably on me and not you!
  • I’m an assistant professor at SJSU. My academic page is here.
  • I’m the director of SPARC, where I corrupt accelerated youth.
  • I consult for the Ethereum Foundation. We run workshops (so far invite-only, at Stanford and MIT) to work on theoretical problems that arise from blockchain.

Previous lives (and sidequests):

  • 1999-2003: Thomas Jefferson High School (MOP, USACO, RSI, Clay Institute Research Academy, Canada-USA Math Camp)
  • 2003-2007: BA, Harvard University (Harvard Men’s Ultimate, Cabot House poker games)
  • 2008: Researcher / Developer, Ellington Management (Atlantic City / Pokerstars poker games)
  • 2008-2013: PhD, MIT (cofounded Vivana, cofounded SPARC)
  • 2013-2016: Postdoc, UC Berkeley (consulting at various tech startups: Remix, Cerebras, k-Motion)

I do enjoy talking to people, but I’m bad at checking email. Twitter (@krzhang) is probably easiest.

Misc. Updates

  • (2020) Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain paper (with the Ethereum Foundation and several undergraduate / masters students): https://twitter.com/krzhang/status/1236873011073912833
  • (2016) Boris Alexeev and I (team BAYZ!!) got third place on this contest for March Madness predictions. We learned some interesting math and “street fighting statistics” along the way.

Blogs / Social Media

My primary outlet to social media is Twitter (@krzhang). Otherwise I am mostly absent / defunct on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.).

I wrote a few answers on Quora here. My favorite is probably “How can I self study linear algebra?”

I have written on 3 public blogs. Sadly, I have not updated these in a very long time due to my other projects.

  • Blue Slate, personal blog. Much of the content is protected for a circle of trusted friends. If you are a trusted friend who wants access, ask me for the password.
  • Concrete Nonsense, a group math blog.
  • Necessary Games, Jordan Magnusson’s blog about videogames, with an indie bent.


(last updated 3/2020) 52 random heroes (not necessarily my role models!), including fictional characters. To avoid wrong connotations, I do not include people such as (live) people in my academic field, people who recently paid me, etc.

  1. Sarinee Achavanuntakul
  2. Allan Adams
  3. Boris Alexeev
  4. Charles Barkley
  5. Joshua Batson
  6. Russell “Stringer” Bell
  7. bldswtrs
  8. Jonathan Blow
  9. Cao Cao (曹操)
  10. Italo Calvino
  11. Gerolamo Cardano
  12. Gabriel Carroll
  13. Dave Chappelle
  14. G.J.K. Chesterton
  15. Ted Chiang
  16. Paul Christiano
  17. cly5m
  18. Richard Feynman
  19. Edgar Figaro
  20. Benjamin Franklin
  21. Frog (Chrono Trigger)
  22. Hideyuki Fujisawa
  23. Kelly Grayson
  24. Vincent van Gogh
  25. Richard Hamming
  26. Aldous Huxley
  27. E. T. Jaynes
  28. Sanjoy Mahajan
  29. Emmy Noether
  30. Pham Nuwen
  31. PSY
  32. Alec Resnick
  33. Laura Roslin
  34. Gian-Carlo Rota
  35. Lee Sedol
  36. Claude Shannon
  37. Eleanor Shellstrop
  38. Da Shi (大史)
  39. Aaron Swartz
  40. Tintin
  41. Varys
  42. Jeff Vogel
  43. Yang Wen-Li
  44. Tabitha-Ruth “Turtle” Wexler
  45. John Wooden
  46. Phoenix Wright
  47. Wu Miao (吴淼)
  48. Charles Francis Xavier
  49. Ying Xin (my mother)
  50. Lu Xun(鲁迅)
  51. Kiyoharu Yashiro
  52. Zhuge Liang (诸葛亮)