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What we're all about

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

Atlas India 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 previous 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 who spends her time writing, teaching, and red-teaming problems with incentive structures. She previously worked as a quantitative trader at Jane Street Capital and as a data scientist on the electoral forecasting team at Blue Rose Research. She enjoys thinking about philosophy, prison abolition, and board games.

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.

Chana Messinger

Chana Messinger is a longtime teacher, speaker and writer. She taught math for 9 years, and has been giving workshops and coaching for learning how to think better for the last year. She has blogged about and helped edit a book about rationality.

Sydney Von Arx

Sydney co-founded the Atlas Fellowship and still joins as an instructor. Previously, she founded a coding bootcamp for kids and set up a summer program that teaches high school students quantitative reasoning. At Atlas programs, she talks about machine learning, agency, and taking ideas seriously.

Aaron Scher

Aaron is a recent graduate of Pitzer College, where he studied psychology and economics. He enjoys playing tennis and chess despite not being very good! He loves talking about big problems, emotions, and hearing about other people’s passions.

Damon Sasi

Damon is a licensed therapist, author of Pokemon Rational Fiction, and teacher at various camps and workshops. He’s a strong believer in the power of rationality to improve therapeutic practices, as well as stories as a catalyst for growth, and is working to combine all three in as many ways as possible.

John Salvatier

John trained as a chemical engineer and worked as a programmer. He built a popular Bayesian stats library, and has written about the surprising detailedness of reality.

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