Mark Santolucito

Nov 2020

Professor Santolucito is one of the most fun and chill professors out there! He is genuinely passionate about his area of study and one of the best professors out there. As a senior, out of all my years at the sanitarium we all know and love as Columbia, he is the only professor (and first) whose class I voluntarily attended everyday, was engaged in, and loved. I have a super short attention span and his class kept my attention the full time. Most professors at CU blindly read off slides they didn’t make and make me question whether the schools’ 80k per year tuition is justifiable in the slightest. Professor Santolucito is different as he makes every class worthwhile, fun, practical and interactive on a one to one basis. Professor Santolucito covered audio basics, making our own synths, modulation of and generation of sound waves through the window of webaudio, live coding, machine learning (Bayesian models and natural language processing)/markov chains/cellular automata. With each topic, there was an open-ended lab/homework which makes you apply what you learned in a practical and creative sense. For each topic that you are not familiar with, you have to spend time to learn it but it is worth it; Professor Santolucito is there to help. Also, this isn’t a class where you can get by in the slightest by copying and pasting from GitHub, you actually have to understand the materials and code things from scratch without much online references just like the real world. You are actually doing new things, and it is exciting and practical. None of that AP Jae crap where you have to memorize stuff you will never use and do things by hand because who in the industry actually does that—maybe in the 1800s. Back to topic, considering that this was a Term A class when I took it, Professor Santolucito did one hell of a good job and managed not only to teach a breadth of topics in detail, but also invite entertaining guest speakers in the industry, have in class showcases, and even have a career fair! If you love projects, learning something new, and aren’t afraid to program and dip into your creative side, this is the class for you. Columbia professors should learn from Professor Santolucito—classes should be engaging, intellectually challenging (not because of cheap grading gimmicks, ambiguity, TA politics, but rather because you really need to understand the material and apply it to a practical setting), and also fun.