Timeline of Center for Applied Rationality

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This is a timeline of Center for Applied Rationality. Center for Applied Rationality (CFAR) is a nonprofit that organizes rationality workshops, with a focus on AI safety and existential risks.

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Year Month and date Event type Details
2011 "Over the years, Yudkowsky found that people struggled to think clearly about A.I. risk and were often dismissive of it. In 2011, Salamon, who had been working at MIRI since 2008, volunteered to figure out how to overcome that problem."[1]
2011 (summer) Workshop A rationality minicamp takes place.[2]
2011 July 18 Legal The Articles of Incorporation for CFAR, at the time called the Feynman Foundation, are written. It would be approved on July 26.[3]
2011 July 26 Legal CFAR, at the time called the Feynman Foundation, is approved by the US Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.[4]
2012 March 29 The CFAR Exercise Prize, for help coming up with exercises to teach cognitive skills, is announced. Several requests for exercises were posted and several prizes were given out.[5][6]
2012 May 8 MIRI's April 2012 progress report is published, in which CFAR's name is announced. Until this point, CFAR was known as the "Rationality Group" or "Rationality Org".[7]
2012 May 11–13 Workshop A rationality minicamp takes place.[2]
2012 June 22–24 Workshop A rationality minicamp takes place.[2]
2012 July 7 CFAR's Twitter account, CFARnews, is created.[8]
2012 July 10 Legal The CFAR Articles of Incorporation are amended to rename the corporation from "Feynman Foundation" to "Center For Applied Rationality".[3]
2012 July 21–28 Workshop A rationality minicamp takes place.[2]
2012 August 6–13 SPARC SPARC 2012 takes place.[9] This is the first SPARC.
2013 August 5–17 SPARC SPARC 2013 takes place.[10]
2013 December 28 Annual fundraising post is published on LessWrong making the case for why one should donate to CFAR.[11]
2014 August 4–16 SPARC SPARC 2014 takes place.[12]
2014 October 25–26 As an experimental "beta test", a lower-cost, 1.5-day workshop takes place in the Bay Area.[13]
2014 November First workshops in Europe take place in the UK.[13]
2014 December 26 Annual review/fundraising post is published on LessWrong.[14]
2015 (?) The 2015 longitudinal study is published, covering workshops from February 2014 to April 2015.[15]
2015 July 1 Financial CFAR is included among the Future of Life Institute's Grant Recommendations for its first round of AI safety grants. The amount recommended is $111,757, for a specialized workshop for "45 of the most promising AI students".[16] The grant would be disbursed on September 1.[17][18][19] (Is this the same as the MIRI Summer Fellows program or some other workshop with a name? The FLI grant pages do not say.)
2015 July 7–26 The CFAR-run MIRI Summer Fellows program 2015 takes place.[20][21] This program is apparently "relatively successful at recruiting staff for MIRI".[22]
2015 August 4–16 SPARC SPARC 2015 takes place.[23]
2015 December 23 The annual fundraising and review is posted to LessWrong.[24]
2016 January 2 Anna Salamon posts on LessWrong talking about CFAR's mission in a Q&A.[25]
2016 May Financial The Open Philanthropy Project awards a grant of $304,000 over two years to CFAR's Summer Program on Applied Rationality and Cognition (SPARC).[26]
2016 July Financial The Open Philanthropy Project awards a grant of $1,035,000 over two years to CFAR.[27]
2016 August 2–14 SPARC SPARC 2016 takes place.[28]
2016 December 3, 12 A couple of posts are published on LessWrong by Anna Salamon. The posts discuss CFAR's new focus on AI safety.[29][30]
2016 December 10 Possibly the first mention of Convergence is from this day. Anna Salamon describes it as follows: "Julia will be launching a small spinoff organization called Convergence, facilitating double crux conversations between EAs and EA-adjacent people in, e.g., tech and academia. It'll be under the auspices of CFAR for now but will not have opinions on AI."[31]
2016 December 14 A Wayback Machine snapshot from this day shows that Julia Galef is listed under the "Convergence project".[32]
2016 End of the year Leadership Julia Galef steps down as CFAR president; Anna Salamon takes her place and Pete Michaud takes Salamon's place as executive director. In the same post, Galef announces that she is working on the Update Project, a project whose goal is "to help decisionmakers improve the accuracy of their models, especially as they relate to strategies for having a large positive impact on the world".[33][34] The Update Project is the new name for the Convergence project.[35] The Update Project receives funding from the Open Philanthropy Project.[36]
2017 January CFAR publishes case studies on its impact on existential risk. The report covers Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI), Future of Life Institute (FLI), and Arbital (an online discussion platform).[37]
2017 May Financial The Open Philanthropy Project awards a grant of $340,000 to CFAR to "support the European Summer Program on Rationality" (ESPR).[38]
2017 May 29 The Rationalist House Games domain, rationalistgames.org, is registered.[39] The Rationalist House Games is a website that hosts competitions between rationality community group houses. The website is apparently run by CFAR (the website itself does not mention CFAR).[40][41]
2017 August 6–17 SPARC SPARC 2017 takes place.[42]
2017 December 16 CFAR publishes four documents on its website: its 2017 Impact Report,[43] a 2017 Retrospective,[44] information on its 2017 Fundraiser,[45] and a venue update.[46]
2018 January Financial The Open Philanthropy Project awards a grant of $560,000 to CFAR to "support SPARC and related activities".[47]
2018 January Financial The Open Philanthropy Project awards a grant of $1,000,000 over two years to CFAR for general support.[48]
2018 January 10 Financial CFAR announces that it has exceeded its 2017 fundraising target of $740,000 by raising a total of $759,829.[45]
2018 January 19 CFAR instructor Michael "Valentine" Smith begins posting about kenshō on LessWrong.[49] He would follow up on the initial post in late February with "The Real-World Omega"[50] and "Mythic Mode".[51] Kenshō hasn't been discussed officially by CFAR (in particular, Valentine's post seems to be made from a personal capacity), but it seems to be one of the things being discussed in person by CFAR people.[52]
2018 February 27 Leadership CFAR announces that it has acquired a permanent venue. In addition, executive director Pete Michaud leaves his position to become an advisor and Timothy Telleen-Lawton becomes the new executive director.[53]
2018 June or July CFAR will have its new permanent venue in possession and will begin hosting workshops there.[53]
2018 July 22 – August 3 SPARC SPARC 2018 is planned to take place.[54]

Workshops

I haven't found numbers for other years, but their home page says 909 workshop alumni on 2017-07-12. The workshop FAQ says "Workshop size varies, but most are around 32 participants. Some are up to 60 participants." So that means maybe around 28 workshops have been conducted in all? It looks like older workshops only had 25 participants, so that could mean up to 36 workshops in all. And there have been at least 20 workshops, from those listed below.

Year Number of flagship/main workshops Sources Notes
2013 7 [11]
2014 9 [14]
2015 4 [24]
2016 It doesn't look like CFAR published an annual review for 2016
2017 8 [44] 5 workshops from February to May; 1 in Seattle in June; 2 "Tier II" workshops in July and December; 1 workshop for MIRI researchers in November; 1 lighter workshop prior to Effective Altruism Global in August

Meta information on the timeline

How the timeline was built

The initial version of the timeline was written by Issa Rice.

Funding information for this timeline is available.

What the timeline is still missing

Timeline update strategy

See also

External links

References

  1. Jennifer Kahn (January 14, 2016). "The Happiness Code: A new approach to self-improvement is taking off in Silicon Valley: cold, hard rationality.". The New York Times. Retrieved July 12, 2017. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Anna Salamon (March 29, 2012). "Minicamps on Rationality and Awesomeness: May 11-13, June 22-24, and July 21-28". LessWrong. Retrieved July 11, 2017. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Articles of Incorporation Of Feynman Foundation" (PDF). Retrieved July 9, 2017. 
  4. "Center for Applied Rationality Nonprofit IRS Approval" (PDF). Retrieved July 8, 2017. 
  5. "Revision history of "CFAR Exercise Prize" - Lesswrongwiki". LessWrong. Retrieved March 1, 2018. 
  6. Yudkowsky, Eliezer (March 29, 2012). "SotW: Check Consequentialism". LessWrong. Retrieved March 1, 2018. 
  7. Louie Helm (May 8, 2012). "Machine Intelligence Research Institute Progress Report, April 2012". Machine Intelligence Research Institute. Retrieved June 30, 2017. 
  8. "CFAR news (@CFARnews)". Twitter. Retrieved July 11, 2017. 
  9. rrusczyk (April 20, 2012). "Art of Problem Solving Blog : New Free Summer Camp On Math and Rationality". Retrieved July 13, 2017. SPARC will be held at UC Berkeley from August 6th to 13th and is open to high school students, including rising freshmen and graduating seniors. 
  10. "SPARC | CFAR". Retrieved July 12, 2017. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Why CFAR?". LessWrong. Retrieved July 12, 2017. 
  12. "SPARC | Summer Program in Applied Rationality and Cognition". Retrieved July 12, 2017. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Anna Salamon (October 2, 2014). "Upcoming CFAR events: Lower-cost bay area intro workshop; EU workshops; and others". LessWrong. Retrieved July 12, 2017. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Anna Salamon (December 26, 2014). "CFAR in 2014: Continuing to climb out of the startup pit, heading toward a full prototype". LessWrong. Retrieved July 12, 2017. 
  15. "2015 Longitudinal Study". Center for Applied Rationality. Retrieved July 13, 2017. 
  16. "AI Researcher Anna Salamon - Future of Life Institute". Future of Life Institute. Retrieved July 13, 2017. 
  17. "Grants Timeline - Future of Life Institute". Future of Life Institute. Retrieved July 13, 2017. 
  18. "New International Grants Program Jump-Starts Research to Ensure AI Remains Beneficial: Press release for FLI grant awardees. - Future of Life Institute". Future of Life Institute. Retrieved July 13, 2017. 
  19. "AI Safety Research - Future of Life Institute". Future of Life Institute. Retrieved July 13, 2017. 
  20. "MIRI Summer Fellows 2015". CFAR. June 21, 2015. Retrieved July 8, 2017. 
  21. Anna Salamon (April 28, 2015). "CFAR-run MIRI Summer Fellows program: July 7-26". LessWrong. Retrieved July 11, 2017. 
  22. "Center for Applied Rationality — General Support". Open Philanthropy Project. Retrieved July 8, 2017. We have some doubts about CFAR's management and operations, and we see CFAR as having made only limited improvements over the last two years, with the possible exception of running the MIRI Summer Fellows Program in 2015, which we understand to have been relatively successful at recruiting staff for MIRI. 
  23. "SPARC Summer School 2015" (PDF). Retrieved July 12, 2017. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 Pete Michaud (December 23, 2015). "Why CFAR? The view from 2015". LessWrong. Retrieved July 12, 2017. 
  25. "Why CFAR's Mission?". LessWrong. Retrieved July 13, 2017. 
  26. "Center for Applied Rationality — SPARC". Open Philanthropy Project. Retrieved July 11, 2017. 
  27. "Center for Applied Rationality — General Support". Open Philanthropy Project. Retrieved July 11, 2017. 
  28. "What is SPARC? | SPARC on WordPress.com". SPARC. Retrieved July 12, 2017. 
  29. "CFAR's new focus, and AI Safety - Less Wrong". LessWrong. Retrieved July 13, 2017. 
  30. "Further discussion of CFAR's focus on AI safety, and the good things folks wanted from "cause neutrality" - Less Wrong". LessWrong. Retrieved July 13, 2017. 
  31. "AnnaSalamon comments on CFAR's new focus, and AI Safety - Less Wrong". LessWrong. Retrieved July 12, 2017. 
  32. "CFAR Team". Center for Applied Rationality. Retrieved July 28, 2017. 
  33. Julia Galef (February 28, 2017). "Julia Galef - I'm overdue for a career update! Lots of you who...". Retrieved July 28, 2017. 
  34. Julia Galef (March 1, 2017). "The Update Project". Julia Galef. Retrieved July 28, 2017. 
  35. Julia Galef (July 28, 2017). "Comment in reply to Vipul Naik". Retrieved July 28, 2017. The new name for the convergence project (though the focus has shifted a bit since then, as well) 
  36. Issa Rice (April 2, 2017). "Open Philanthropy Project non-grant funding". Issa Rice. Retrieved July 28, 2017. 
  37. "Case Studies Highlighting CFAR's Impact on Existential Risk". Center for Applied Rationality. Retrieved July 12, 2017. 
  38. "Center for Applied Rationality — European Summer Program on Rationality". Open Philanthropy Project. December 15, 2017. Retrieved February 25, 2018. 
  39. "Showing results for: RATIONALISTGAMES.ORG". ICANN WHOIS. Retrieved February 25, 2018. Creation Date: 2017-05-29T19:25:39Z 
  40. "Fourth Quarter CFAR Newsletter". Center for Applied Rationality. Retrieved February 25, 2018. Rationalist House Games - Elizabeth Garrett spearheaded a competition between rationalist houses 
  41. "Second Quarter CFAR Newsletter". Center for Applied Rationality. Retrieved February 25, 2018. 
  42. "What is SPARC? | SPARC on WordPress.com". SPARC. Archived from the original on June 3, 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2018. SPARC—the Summer Program on Applied Rationality and Cognition—will be hosted in the San Francisco Bay Area from August 6 – 17, with students arriving the evening of the 6th and leaving the morning of the 17th. 
  43. "CFAR 2017 Impact Report". Center for Applied Rationality. Retrieved February 25, 2018. 
  44. 44.0 44.1 "CFAR 2017 Retrospective". Center for Applied Rationality. Retrieved February 24, 2018. 
  45. 45.0 45.1 "CFAR 2017 Fundraiser". Center for Applied Rationality. Retrieved February 24, 2018. 
  46. "CFAR 2017 Venue Update". Center for Applied Rationality. Retrieved February 25, 2018. 
  47. "Center for Applied Rationality — SPARC (2018)". Open Philanthropy Project. February 6, 2018. Retrieved February 25, 2018. 
  48. "Center for Applied Rationality — General Support (2018)". Open Philanthropy Project. February 28, 2018. Retrieved March 1, 2018. 
  49. Michael "Valentine" Smith (January 19, 2018). "Kenshō". LessWrong. Retrieved February 24, 2018. 
  50. "The Real-World Omega". Retrieved February 24, 2018. 
  51. "Mythic Mode". Retrieved February 24, 2018. 
  52. Qiaochu Yuan. "Comment on "Kenshō"". Retrieved February 24, 2018. It's seemed to me for awhile now that the stuff that people are actually talking about in person (e.g. at CFAR workshops) has far outstripped the pace of what's publicly available in blog post format and I'm really happy to see progress on that front. 
  53. 53.0 53.1 Michaud, Pete (February 27, 2018). "Fundraising & Leadership Updates". Center for Applied Rationality. Retrieved March 1, 2018. 
  54. "What is SPARC? | SPARC on WordPress.com". SPARC. Archived from the original on February 24, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2018.