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What we're all about

11 transformative days of learning designed to help shape the trajectory of your life.

Atlas Fellowship

Program in Berkeley, CA


July 15–26 and August 8–19, and if we receive many high-quality applications, also November 6–17 and December 16–24


Berkeley, CA, United States.


To make sure it's accessible to everyone, the 11-day program is completely free (including travel, visas, housing, food, and all other related expenses).

Is it required?

All Fellows will be invited to the 11-day program, but don’t need to attend. We trust Fellows to make informed choices about how to use their time. Please participate if you feel curious about the content, and not otherwise!

Sample Schedule

We have 4–7 hours of workshops and activities each day. All of the sessions are optional; we trust you to decide whether attending a session will be more useful than your counterfactual (what you could’ve been doing otherwise, such as a 1-on-1 chat with a fellow participant).

This year’s program will have a special focus on artificial intelligence.

Full Day Program
9:00 – 10:00 am
Breakfast / wake up
10:00 – 10:20 am
Morning rant: thermodynamics paradoxes and engines of cognition
10:30 – 11:30 am
Fermi estimates and forecasting
11:50 – 12:50 pm
Machine learning
12:50 – 2:10 pm
2:10 – 3:10 pm
Active activity: Foam swords
3:10 – 5:30 pm
Challenge: Build a working food delivery startup in the next hour
5:50 – 7:00 pm
Interpretability: a mechanistic understanding of a small transformer
How to end poverty
Try these 𝑛 weird tricks to fix the climate
Hacker ethics
Risks from artificial general intelligence
Why the scientific method is incomplete
7:00 – 8:00 pm
8:00 – 8:30 pm
Evening regather and feedback
8:30 – 10:00 pm
Optional evening activities:
Juggling, actually and mathematically
Trading market: chess master vs. 2500 chess engine
I’m not a robot: how captchas fail and why it matters
Fun math puzzles
10:00 pm
Our Ethos

The Atlas approach

Understand how the world really works

When did you figure out that Covid-19 was going to be a pandemic that would impact us all? How do computers really work? Why is humanity able to build sophisticated devices like computers, but unable to fix scientific publishing? How might advanced AI systems shape our future? Through big-picture thinking about science, philosophy, and the future, our goal is to help you build models of what’s going on for humanity, and what that implies for you.

“Discovering you were wrong is an update, not a failure, and your worldview is a living document meant to be revised.” — Julia Galef, The Scout Mindset

Find what you can do to shape it

Are you setting your own priorities for your life, or are you letting others set them for you?

We want to help you develop agency – the skill of taking actions towards your goals by strategically choosing what to work on, looking places where others don't, developing a hacker mindset to find unconventional solutions, and putting in the hard work to actually make them happen.

“You start being an adult when you decide to take responsibility for your life. You can do that at any age.” — Paul Graham, What You’ll Wish You’d Known

Work with a community of collaborators

We want to empower you to take risks. But we don’t expect you to do it alone!

You’ll meet friends at in-person programs, reunions, and in our online community, and you’ll collaborate with them on projects to learn, investigate, and build.

“There is no justice in the laws of nature, no term for fairness in the equations of motion. The universe is neither evil, nor good, it simply does not care. The stars don't care, or the Sun, or the sky. But they don't have to! We care! There is light in the world, and it is us!” ― Eliezer Yudkowsky, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Meet the team

Staff and instructors

Jonas Vollmer Profile Pic

Jonas Vollmer

Jonas co-founded the Atlas Fellowship. He previously oversaw $20 million in grants to high-impact projects and co-founded and led an AI risk research non-profit with 20 full-time staff. At Atlas programs, he loves discussing ending global poverty and playing capture the flag.

Ronny Fernandez

Ronny studied philosophy at Rutgers University and likes to think about how artificial intelligence grounds philosophy in the concrete. He also did AI forecasting research at AI Impacts. At Atlas, he enjoys discussing formal epistemology and strategizing for Killer Queen games.

Ricki Heicklen

Ricki is a freelancer splitting her time between NYC and the Bay Area. Her background is in quantitative trading and forecasting; she spends a lot of time thinking about markets, incentives, and human dynamics. She likes talking about philosophy, playing and designing board games, and building elaborate costumes.

Ashley Lin profile pic

Ashley Lin

Ashley co-founded the Atlas Fellowship. Previously, she founded a nonprofit that brought online cultural exchange to >1,000 students in 35+ countries and wrote a book on community building. At Atlas programs, she likes to explore China-related AI policy or how to learn better.

Alex Fields

Alex studied Computer Science at Columbia University, worked as a Strategy Consultant for Coca-Cola and Caterpillar, and led strategic initiatives at a chatbot company. At Atlas programs, he likes discussing LLMs and the potential near-term impacts of AI progress.

Moritz von Knebel

Moritz has a background in Political Science and Philosophy, taught at universities and in high schools, and has worked as an AI governance researcher. In his free time, he likes to hike high mountains and lift heavy weights.

Yulia Ponomarenko

Yulia is a former software engineer who is pivoting her career for more impact. She's interested in coordination problems and the philosophy of science.

Elizabeth Van Nostrand

Professionally, Elizabeth is an epistemic vigilante; she researches ideas for entrepreneurs, investigates long Covid risks, and fights with people about nutrition. She is broadly interested in how constraints shape systems.
Personally, Elizabeth is into the standard introvert hobbies: reading, video games, cats, etc.

John Croxton

John lives in Washington DC and co-organizes the Network on Emerging Threats, a national security policy group focusing on the risks from AI, biosecurity, nuclear war, and great-power conflict. He loves competitive games, friendly debates, and big-picture ideas.

Aric Floyd

Aric has worked as an actor (and occasional composer) in film and television since he was 16. He became interested in ethics and public speaking as a competitive high school debater, and went on to study physics and philosophy as an undergraduate at Stanford University. He is currently exploring ways to effectively communicate with the general public about pressing global problems.

Nicole Sanna

Nicole studies political science and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and is interested in learning about media, social sciences, and humanities. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music and podcasts, reading, writing, yoga, and exploring.

Jack Carroll

Jack is a silly creature who's split their skill points between systems operations and interpersonal skills. As the Center for Applied Rationality's Director of Operations, they handle finances, teach classes on decision making, and coach people in feeling their feelings.

John Steidley

John is currently an instructor for the Center for Applied Rationality. He used to be a software engineer. He's interested in group dynamics, economics, machine learning, and dancing.

Ewelina Tur

Ewelina is a psychologist and a licensed cognitive behavioural therapist.

Tzu Kit Chan

Tzu represented Malaysia in the International Philosophy Olympiad and subsequently founded a non-profit to promote critical thinking via philosophy. He's currently growing in boxing / muay thai, Brazilian jiu jitsu, fencing, and bouldering; he did ballet for a year, and he is a certified coach for olympic lifts (he nerds out on great lifting techniques 🤓).

Claire Short

Claire is currently working in AI safety, with a background in neuroscience and data science. She enjoys art, swing dancing, techno, and capybaras.

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Are you interested in science, philosophy, and the future?