Justin Skycak (pr: Sky-zack)
Developing all the quantitative software behind mathacademy.com, including the novel algorithms that make us fully automated, fully personalized, and 4x more efficient than a traditional math class.
I loved self-studying math and applying it to research projects while growing up. But I hated how ineffective, inefficient, and inconvenient most formal math classes were. And it continues to frustrate me that the greatest educational "life hack" -- learning advanced math at a young age and benefitting wildly from the resulting skills and opportunities -- is actively discouraged by most schools and is consequently unknown to most students who have the potential to capitalize on it. So, I'm working to fix these problems.
Previously: Physics research ➔ data science ➔ math education. Degrees in math and [the mathy side of] computer science. LinkedIn
- Improved data transmission within Fermilab and CERN particle detectors; finalist in the 2013 International Science & Engineering Fair. more
- Full-ride Lilly scholarship to the University of Notre Dame; spent a summer in Los Alamos working on a LANL computational neuroscience project and then worked full-time as data scientist at a nearby analytics company (Aunalytics) for 2 years while simultaneously an undergraduate. more
- Developed what was, during its operation from 2020-23, the most advanced high school math/CS sequence in the USA. It culminated in high school students doing masters/PhD-level coursework (reproducing academic research papers in artificial intelligence, building everything from scratch in Python). more
Hobbies: Math, music, calisthenics.
- For fun, I self-studied most of undergraduate math during high school and self-published 4 math textbooks (over 1000 pages total) shortly after college. more
- During college I spent a couple years producing music -- orchestral, EDM, freestyle guitar. more
- Calisthenics -- like math, it involves building hierarchical skills over a long period of time, and you can be super efficient if you work strategically. I can do crazy stuff like no-legged pushups, 1-arm pullups, 1-leg jump squats, and various gymnastic ring holds, and I only practice 20-30 minutes per day. more
Favorite Area of Math: I like working on applied problems that are not solvable using standard off-the-shelf techniques. Instead, a solution is achieved by leveraging domain-specific structure of the problem:
- compile heuristics based on domain expertise,
- unify them into a coherent mathematical framework, and
- generalize it to all necessary use-cases while keeping it elegant enough that the engineering implementation remains feasible.