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Joshua Oreman

Traveling Team

Los Angeles, CA

Harvard Westlake School

Grade: Senior


computer programming, reading, tinkering with electronics, law, occasional creative writing


Mock Trial, Duke Moot Court, math club, robotics club


AIME qualifier 2006-09, Gold division competitor in USACO (computer science olympiad), National Merit Scholar, JHU Study of Exceptional Talent, 2008 IPhO gold medalist


I was born on January 17, 1991, and lived the first five years of my life in Glendale, California; now I live in Pasadena, about ten miles away. For as long as I can remember I've been fascinated by any complex logical system in which I can immerse myself; I have something of a knack for visualizing the overall structure and understanding how laws/theorems/concepts fit together. My love of math, physics, and computer science stems from this basic interest. I'm also very active in Mock Trial at my school, and I think it provides an excellent counterpoint to math and science: much of the same logical thinking is involved, in a completely different environment.

I have been rather accelerated in mathematics ever since a very kind fourth grade teacher gave me a pre-algebra book from which to work. I finished the AP Calculus curriculum in ninth grade, and since then have taken elementary multivariable calculus, linear algebra, number theory, and abstract algebra. As far as math goes, I tend to be more interested in powerful abstractions than in solving contest-type problems.

My computer science experience is almost opposite: a decidedly practical bent without much theoretical underpinning. I started programming in 2001, and ever since then my overarching goal has been to figure out how technological things work. By and large I've been self-taught; my first formal instruction was AP Computer Science AB last year. I've written a simple operating system kernel, tried to design a CPU architecture (didn't turn out so well), and made significant contributions to the open-source projects Mondo Rescue and iPodLinux. In summer 2006 and 2007 I had the chance to work with robotics researchers at Caltech; in 2008 I worked on computer vision software at JPL. This summer I'll be developing Wi-Fi support for the Etherboot network booting firmware under the auspices of Google Summer of Code; if I manage to make the traveling team, I'll have an extremely busy summer ahead of me!

Though my enthusiasm for physics isn't as new or surprising as it was last year, it's still a passion for me. Getting deep into a maze of twisty problems (all alike?) is great fun, especially when you're finally able to solve them. Thanks again to my parents, physics teachers, and especially the Physics Team coaches from last year---without you I couldn't have made it this far.

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