Paul Kernfeld

The CAP Theorem

If you can figure out P vs. NP, you'll get a million dollars from the Clay Institute. If you can prove or disprove the Beal Conjecture, you'll get a million-dollar prize held in trust by the American Mathematics Society. If you can beat the CAP theorem... I'll give you a million dollars!


"Inatissentis sentere querum" is a Latin expression meaning, of course, nothing, because those aren't real Latin words. In fact, they are fake Latin words generated by training an algorithm on a Latin text. These words look to me, a non-Latin-knower, like realistic Latin words, and hopefully they do to you, too. Of course, if you know Latin, they probably look terrible, and you're probably already mad at me. Instead, take a look at some of the other languages that I've modeled!

This project explores using Markov chains to model word structure in an alphabet-based language, after being trained on a text in that language. This model is then used to generate realistic-looking fake words and to detect "foreign-looking" words.

A video generated by the program

I wrote Utopia/Dystopia at Brown in 2012. The video is generated via a program in which each pixel is a cellular automaton. Normally, cells assume the average color of their neighbors. When a cell's neighbors are all white, though, the cell explodes in a flash of color. The program is inspired by Zamyatin's We.

Demonstration video: a time-lapse video of the Boston skyline

I created Reactor 1 in Fall 2010 as my final project for Interrogating the Digital Archive at RISD. Reactor is a Max/MSP program that generates an ambient soundtrack for a video feed in real time. The program responds to sunrise and sunset by changing the tone of the music: as the screen gets brighter, the music increases in pitch and moves faster. The program responds to sudden movement on the screen with flourishes of high-pitched notes.

A mid-difficulty level.

I wrote Shipwrite for Mozilla's Game On 2010 competition. The player draws ships with the mouse, then commands them around the screen to fight off waves of enemies. Depending on the shape drawn, the ship will have different properties: small ships are cheap, big ships are powerful, sleek ships are fast, and jagged ships can carry more weaponry.

Presenting for 800 people at New York Tech Meetup

Touch Tone Tanks was a 24-hour hack that I worked on with David Trejo and Justin Ardini for HackNY Fall 2010, at which we won second place.

The game's trailer

Robots Are People Too, or RAPT, is a two-player cooperative platformer written in C++.

A reasonably large ship using the chain gun

Space Duel was an Asteroids-style multiplayer game that I made in 9th and 10th grade.

Chili Dark 'n' Stormy.  Photo Credit: Max Monn.

Two-ingredient cocktails. If you had any fewer you'd be drinking gin from a bottle, or maybe just grapefruit juice. From a logistical standpoint, two-ingredient cocktails are great because you don't need to hunt down an endless list of liqueurs. From a sipping standpoint, it's easy to adjust the ratio of the ingredients to your liking, and simple to add a third ingredient without being overwhelmed.

The Alien Brain Hemorrhage.  Photo Credit: Max Monn.

The Alien Brain Hemorrhage is an exercise in both spelling and layering. This drink relies on the differing densities of its ingredients in order to produce a stunning visual effect. As such, it's essential that it be prepared in a clear shot glass.

The Martini.  Photo Credit: Max Monn.

Many establishments use the term "martini" to refer to any drink served in a martini glass (appletini, flirtini, velociraptini, and so on). These are not martinis, in the same way that tomatoes are technically fruits. So, maybe not the best conversation starter? A martini is gin, dry vermouth and olives. Or a lemon peel, actually, but let's just stick with the olives for now.

The Cosmopolitan.  Photo Credit: Max Monn.

The Cosmo isn't really a classic cocktail, since it was invented in the late 1980's and popularized by Sex and the City. Which, well, er, okay, just read the post, all right?

The Old Fashioned.  Photo Credit: Max Monn.

The Pitch

Anyone can tell you how to make cocktails, but why? Well, you can:

  • Make a great cocktail for 57¢
  • Mislead your friends into thinking you're sophisticated
  • Have fun mixing drinks!

Although cocktails have a reputation as a rich man's drink, you can make many classic cocktails for less than a dollar. So what's the catch? Unlike flipping the tab on a can of beer, mixing a cocktail takes preparation, knowledge, and just a little work. The world of affordable cocktails goes far beyond sorority girls pouring grape Kool-Aid into their Smirnoff, and it's worth a try if you're interested in expanding your drinking horizons without trashing your wallet.