David Dalrymple (computer scientist)

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David Dalrymple
Born (1991-07-23) July 23, 1991 (age 26)
Residence San Francisco, California
Nationality American
Fields Computer science
Alma mater MIT
University of Maryland

David Dalrymple is an American computer scientist and neuroscientist. He is the youngest person to ever attend graduate school at MIT,[1][2] and is a visiting scientist at the neurobiology lab of MIT professor Edward Boyden.[3]


At age eight, Dalrymple was invited by Neil Gershenfeld to a White House event to demonstrate a device he had built using Lego Mindstorms.[4] At age nine, he joined Ray Kurzweil as a speaker at TED, and at age 14, he was the youngest person ever to enroll in an MIT graduate program.[5] In 2005, he obtained Bachelor of Science degrees in both Computer Science and Mathematics at age 13 from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.[6] He received a Master of Science degree in Media Arts and Sciences from the MIT Media Lab with a 5.0 GPA at age 16[7] and was a student at Singularity University in 2010.[5] He was a graduate student in the Harvard Biophysics PhD program, studying worm C. elegans neurobiology and advanced microscopy, but dropped out.[8]


Dalrymple has worked at the MIT Media Lab Center for Bits and Atoms on new programming paradigms such as "Reconfigurable asynchronous logic automata: (RALA)".[9] Early entrepreneurial efforts included selling photography and fractal art, fundraising for multiple sclerosis charity, and portable camera-like devices to “read” street signs and menus aloud into headphones (to assist visually impaired individuals).[7]

In 2012, Dalrymple obtained a research grant from the Thiel Foundation to establish new approaches to brain analysis and control.[8][10] He contributed to the OpenWorm project, which seeks to model the brains of the nematode C. elegans, then started NemaLoad (his own brain modeling project) to gather more neural data.[11][12][13]

He works for Twitter in Silicon Valley as a software engineer as of May, 2014.[14][15]


On November 30, 2011, Dalrymple lectured in Marvin Minsky's MIT class "Society of Mind" on the topic of "Mind vs. Brain: Confessions of a Defector".[16][17] He has written essays for Edge.org every year since 2007.[18]


  1. ^ Xenopoulos, Jason (2015). "When Paths Diverge". Philosophy Now. Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  2. ^ Enriquez, Juan (March 10, 2015). Evolving Ourselves: How Unnatural Selection and Nonrandom Mutation are Changing Life on Earth. Penguin. ISBN 0698174984. Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  3. ^ Boyden, Ed. "David Dalrymple". Synthetic Neurobiology Group. Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  4. ^ Tekla S. Perry (1 Jun 2008). "Ray Kurzweil and Neil Gershenfeld: Two Paths to the Singularity". IEEE Spectrum. 
  5. ^ a b Nicola Jones (15 September 2010). "Education: Ten weeks to save the world". Nature. 467: 266–268. PMID 20844512. doi:10.1038/467266a. 
  6. ^ "Stories From The Class of 2005: Undergraduate Students". 
  7. ^ a b "Nestle Very Best in Youth Winner 2009 - David Dalrymple". 
  8. ^ a b "Davidad biography". Jan 2013. 
  9. ^ Neil Gershenfeld, David Dalrymple, Kailiang Chen, Ara Knaian, Forrest Green, Erik D. Demaine, Scott Greenwald, Peter Schmidt-Nielsen. "Principles of Programming Languages: Reconfigurable asynchronous logic automata". POPL '10 Proceedings of the 37th annual ACM SIGPLAN-SIGACT symposium on Principles of programming languages. 
  10. ^ ""Nemaload" at Humanity+ meeting in San Francisco". 2012. 
  11. ^ Madrigal, Alexis (May 17, 2013). "Is This Virtual Worm the First Sign of the Singularity?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  12. ^ Ford, Adam (February 11, 2013). "David Dalrymple On Project NEMALOAD". 33rd Square. Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  13. ^ Kurzweil, Ray (2012). How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed. New York: Viking Books. ISBN 978-0-670-02529-9. 
  14. ^ "David Dalrymple". The Brain Preservation Foundation. Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  15. ^ Lu, Yiren (March 12, 2014). "Silicon Valley’s Youth Problem". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  16. ^ "MIT class 6.868 (Society of Mind) "Mind vs. Brain: Confessions of a Defector"". 
  17. ^ "David Dalrymple, 21-yr-old double PhD drop-out; simulator of worms (Personal biography)". 
  18. ^ David Dalrymple. "Edge essays". 

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