Michael Barnathan initiated Project Polymath in December of 2007 and served as its initial trustee from its date of incorporation, March 20, 2008. He explains his rationale as follows:
I have been very fortunate in the wide range of academic perspectives afforded to me. However, no matter what vantage point I took on this panorama - student, faculty, researcher, administrator - I perceived an odd and thoroughly disquieting trend: student potential was being shunned and suppressed, imposing an upper limit beyond which it was forbidden to venture. To make matters worse, the problem was multifocal, built upon multiple false assumptions and dichotomies inherent in the concept of the modern university: Amazingly multitalented students were forced to abandon their secondary, tertiary, quaternary, quinary talents in the name of enforced specialization, in the mistaken belief that less knowledge would result in greater proficiency than more. The more talented the student, the greater the loss. Other students had long ago exhausted the challenges of the standard curriculum and hungered for more, yet were retained long past the point when the educational system ceased to educate them, reduced to an undead state of the intellect in the name of a standardized timeline to which they did not fit. Others fell victims to others' false preconceptions of their goals and were reduced to extensions of the faculty's judgment: assumptions that they wished to work in this field, or with that employer, or on that project, the students' own desires to the contrary. And none of the students whatsoever had the option of nonspecific training in subjects such as creativity. Regardless of the reason, the result was the same: the greater the potential, the greater the suppression - and the greater loss to us all.
Project Polymath represents our answer to these problems: a complete, thorough, and necessary rethinking of the educational system which permits each student to attain the full extent of his or her potential.
Dr. Barnathan's has extensive experience in technology and STEM education, including a Senior Software Engineer position at Google, an Adjunct Professor position at Monmouth University, and a number of machine learning positions from data scientist to director. He holds a Ph. D. in Computer and Information Sciences from Temple University with a dissertation entitled “Mining Complex High-Order Datasets” (focusing on novel tensor-theoretic and wavelet-based data mining techniques in the context of functional brain imaging). He previously earned an M.S. in Computer and Information Sciences from Temple University in 2007 and a B.S. in Computer Science with a Mathematics minor from Monmouth University in 2006, Summa Cum Laude, where he graduated first in his class of 1,050 students. As time permits, he also teaches Data Structures and Algorithms on the undergraduate and graduate levels as an Adjunct Professor and sits on the Student and Alumni Advisory Council of Monmouth University's School of Science. He is the instructor of several Polymath Foundation courses, including: “How to Create Your Own Website”, “Code Like a Rockstar”, and “Data Structures and Algorithms”. He has published papers in leading Machine Learning and Biomedical Imaging proceedings and journals, including Algorithms, AAAI, ISBI, PAKDD, EMBC, Neuroimage, and IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging. His research interests include Data Mining, Machine Learning, Computer Aided Diagnosis, Oncology, Immunology, Education, Data Structures, Number Theory, Econometrics, Statistics, Software Development, Artificial Intelligence, and Artificial Creativity. He has consistently excelled academically and is the recipient of the Monmouth University 2006 Alumni Association Academic Achievement Award for obtaining the highest GPA in his graduating class. He has received five scholarships and is a member of the Phi Eta Sigma, Lambda Sigma Tau, Kappa Mu Epsilon, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Golden Key honor societies.
Michael has professional experience in many fields, including biomedicine, education, mathematics, software development (which he has been doing since age 7), web design and development, teaching and tutoring, system administration, financial modeling and data mining, game development, and technical writing. He has two primary goals in life: creating an ideal system of education and developing groundbreaking treatments for cancers and autoimmune diseases. In addition to the Polymath Foundation, Michael is the founder of Living Discoveries, a computer-assisted diagnostic company.
His hobbies include music composition and piano performance, development, photography, poetry, philosophy, psychology, sociology, electronics, writing, mathematics, copious amounts of fictional and nonfictional reading, wikipedia, and digital artwork. He currently resides in New Jersey.