I found your name while researching scholars who have served as teaching fellows under Professor Harry Lewis at Harvard. The D. E. Shaw group is currently looking to hire a small number of truly gifted individuals with outstanding backgrounds in math, physics, computer science, and other technical fields. As an organization, the D. E. Shaw group goes to extraordinary lengths to identify such candidates and introduce them to the firm. Based on your work as a teaching fellow in one of the most challenging CS courses at Harvard, you seem to be especially well-placed to help us find people with strong academic backgrounds whose areas of specialization might be particularly relevant to the work we do. Do you have any students or colleagues who stand out in your mind as possessing unusual raw ability even among a relatively gifted population of peers? If so, we would be enormously grateful if you'd bring them to our attention. If you yourself might be inclined to explore opportunities with us, I encourage you to send us a copy of your resume.
So, this person researches scholars who have served as teaching fellows under Professor Harry Lewis. How many people do research on that? Do they have their own Journal?
The sender did get one thing right and one thing weird. RIGHT: I was Harry Lewis's TA for Automata Theory in Fall 1981 and Fall 1984. WEIRD: The course was challenging for the students, but I doubt it was one of the most challenging CS courses at Harvard. Actually, I doubt that phrase even makes sense- for me Automata Theory was easy and programming courses were hard, and others felt the opposite.
Harry Lewis has on his website a list of all the people who ever TAed for him, which is where the sender got my name (other TAs of Harry Lewis, some further back than myself, have gotten the same email).
So, why did D.E. Shaw choose this group of people to send the email to? Harry Lewis has no connection to the company, so thats not it.
- They believe, rightly or wrongly, that ugrads at Harvard who get to TA courses must be pretty good, and grad students who go to Harvard must be pretty good. But see next item.
- They did not say that they want me to apply. They think I might know people that should apply. At the end of the letter they have an after-thought-type-statement saying essentially, `oh, and you too, I guess'
- The list of Harry Lewis TA's is available! I also TAed for Michael Rabin, Gerald Sacks, and Leslie Valiant, but they don't have lists of their TAs on their websites. Hence people who do research on (say) scholars who have served as teaching fellows under Michael Rabin or the others have a much harder time.