ESP Biography



AIDAN FITZGERALD, Computer science and open source enthusiast




Major: Computer Science

College/Employer: Cornell

Year of Graduation: 2020

Picture of Aidan Fitzgerald

Brief Biographical Sketch:

I'm a freshman at the Cornell University College of Engineering intending to major in Computer Science. I'm a proud Linux user, and I am actively involved in the open source and hackathon communities. I've participated in six hackathons, including Cornell's own Big Red // Hacks, and I've mentored at two of them. In January, I organized Social Hacks, a hackathon for social good set to take place in New York City (my hometown). I am passionate about using technology to create a world free from poverty, discrimination, and violence, and I'd like to get involved in political activism on campus. I'm a progressive Democrat, and my current policy interests are free trade, copyright and patent reform, and diversity in tech.



Past Classes

  (Look at the class archive for more.)


Machine Learning! in Splash Fall 17
If you’ve followed tech news lately, you’ve probably heard the term “machine learning” a lot. Machine learning sounds scary and complicated, but in truth, all machine learning algorithms are based on one simple principle. We’ll discuss this principle, then we’ll discuss five popular machine learning algorithms and how they fit into this principle. Finally, we’ll point you to some popular machine learning libraries and, if time permits, do a demo or group activity (no coding required).


Designing Technology for Social Impact in Splash Spring 17
Ever wanted to create a Web application that helps distribute food to where it's needed in India, or a browser extension that identifies misinformation on news websites? In the first part of this course, you'll learn about ways companies, non-governmental organizations, and governments have used technology to solve real-world social problems. In the second part, you'll work with a group to design and present a technology project that addresses a social issue.


Introduction to Copyright Law in Splash Fall 2016
Ever wondered how musicians make money, or why you're allowed to jailbreak a phone but not a game console? Both of these are related to copyright, a form of intellectual property that protects literary and artistic works as well as software. We'll talk about the origins and constitutional basis of United States copyright law, what it is, the fair use and first sale exemptions, and how they affect a broad range of industries from film to video gaming. We'll focus on recent developments in copyright law such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the open source software and free culture movements, the controversial 2011 bills SOPA and PIPA, and the proposed copyright rules in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). We'll spend the last 10-15 minutes of class debating these issues or copyright law in general. The slideshow from this class will be available online under a Creative Commons license.