Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Hiring at Univ of MD at College Park

As Jon Katz blogged about here and as Lance Fortnow Twittered about, yes indeed, Univ of Maryland at College Park is hiring. (I delayed posting on it until it was official, hence Jon Scooped me!) See here for details. One thing to note: the deadline for applications is October 15, which is rather early. So if you want to apply, get your resume updated, your letter writers writing letters, and your webpage in order. ~ ~ ~


  1. It would be nice if there were some feedback in the system. So far this year there is one all-areas CS position being advertised. Being optimistic, let's call that one quarter of a TCS position. This should result in there being fewer postdoc positions and fewer graduate student positions available. How, though? It is a good mechanism design problem. Given its practical importance, a solution would be a guaranteed STOC/FOCS paper.

  2. What is anonymous #1 talking about?

  3. good question anonymous #2

  4. i agree with anonymous #3, thus also with anonymous #2. Now, anonymous #1 got all of us confused.

  5. What anonymous is talking about is very clear ... and is illustrated by a conference I attended on pediatric orthopaedic oncology.

    The chair gave an address noting that the existing number of trained pediatric orthopaedic oncologists was well-matched to the number of pediatric oncology patients ... and there was little prospect that the number of patients would grow ... hence there was little need to train more MDs in this speciality.

    The Chair then asked: "How many academic programs are planning to cut-back their residency and fellowship training programs in pediatric orthopaedic oncology?"

    Answer: none.

    Result of this phenomenon being widespread in medical academia: severe shortages of physicians trained in family medicine ... accompanied by a growing oversupply of specialist MDs.

  6. John,

    You have regularly posted comments suggesting that there is a similarity between the boom-bust in the late 60's-late 70's physics and what we should soon expect in academic CS. This time you've brought up pediatric oncologists. The former boom-bust was based in large measure on changes in top-down government programs motivated by the cold war. The issues for the latter are both demographics and technological advances in treatment that require less of doctors' time.

    The situation in CS is very different. The majority of PhD graduates in CS are taken up by industry and only a small portion of that industrial activity is due to top-down government intervention. We are not facing a glut of trained in computer scientists in the marketplace. Indeed, a recent survey of heads of human resources at major companies suggests that of all fields CS graduates will be in the best position for jobs four years from now. Our enrollments in introductory CS courses (at least at UW) are by far the largest we have ever had.

    Obviously, things are not limitless but the same concerns about a bad patch in the TCS job market in the early 1990's immediately preceded the largest growth in its history. CS is quite a young field and is only now facing the retirement of significant numbers of members of its first departments.

    Physics had its boom at the same time as a pre-1972 general growth of universities which filled faculty ranks in the 1960's and clogged the available spaces. CS did not benefit from this boom and its hiring patterns have been much more spread throughout time. Of course all of academia will face the decline of the baby-boom echo but the drop in population of university-age children is not nearly as precipitous as it was in the 1970's and CS seems likely to do better than the rest.

  7. Paul, you comments apply to students getting bachelors and Masters degrees, not so much to those getting a PhD. What is the industry demand (outside of a small number of companies) for PhDs in computer science?

  8. Paul, it's not clear that we are disagreeing in any substantial degree ... partly because your reply is sufficiently nuanced that it can be read in several ways ... hmmmm ... come to think of it, can't that U Maryland job posting can be read in several ways too?

    The advertised U Maryland position(s) straddle several disciplines: Computer Science, Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, AI, and Natural Language Processing.

    So, are they looking for one person whose capabilities span several disciplines? Or are they looking for specialists who are also team players?

    Do they envision that these disciplines will be taught mainly at (a) the undergraduate level, (b) the graduate level, or (c) at the sexy new "professional masters degree" level?

    And what long-term revenue model does U Maryland envision for supporting these educational programs?

    Assuming that UW/CS enrollment capacity is similar to that of UW/ME (which I think it is), then the undergraduate program is turning (for reasons of space) away two fully qualified students for every one student that is admitted. How can this capacity gap be remediated?

    Aren't these same tough questions being asked in pretty much every science/math/engineering department, in every school, in every state ... even in every nation?

  9. It is frustrating for graduate students that there is so little information out there specifically on TCS. What is one's chance at getting an academic job? There are broader statistics, but I don't think that they necessarily apply to this subfield. This year, there is essentially nothing. How many TCS students are graduating?

    Is there a better place for finding this information? It seems like this blog is really aimed at faculty. Complaints about an 8% pay cut at the UC seem minor compared to the around 50% reduced pay that someone forced to take an extra postdoc faces. Lance sees the bright side on his twitter feed, that a tight job market means better quality hires at lower salaries, but from the other side of the table this is terrible!

  10. There is no position for TCS.