Monday, July 05, 2010

Jobs- who ended up where? You tell us!

Within CS theory who ended up at what jobs? Neither Lance nor I knows this. But YOU do--- collectively! So, I ask you, the readers, to leave comments about who ended up where. Please include name, where they came from, where they are going to, and what position they were hired in, what they work in (fairly broad- e.g., algorithms, complexity). For all of this if you don't know then still leave a comment. Only post comments that you know are true. I only want to list theorists; however, my definition of theorist is fairly broad. Use your own judgment.

I'll start it off by stating two hires I know about:
  1. MohammadTaghi Hajiaghayi: He was at AT+T but will be at The University of Maryland at College Park in the fall, hired as an assistant professor. He works in Algorithms of all kinds.
  2. Hector Bravo. He was a postdoc at Hopkins but will be at The University of Maryland at College Park in the fall, hired as an assistant professor. He works in computational biology.

145 comments:

  1. Dana Moshkovitz will be an assistant professor at MIT

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  2. Elad Hazan will be an assistant prof at Technion. He was a researcher at IBM Almaden.

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  3. Are you sure about DM?

    Strange, since if they were hiring in theory, why didn't they interview other theorists?

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  4. UofT will have two new Professors, but don't know who they are.

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  5. ps: I don't know if UofT hired in theory at the end, but they did interview people working in theory.

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  6. Who got the 7 Simons fellowships?

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  7. Nikhil Devanur made permanent at MSR

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  8. Tel Aviv University takes Iftach Haitner (to CS) and Benny Applebaum (to EE)

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  9. Xi Chen is joining Columbia University as an assistant professor.

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  10. Postocs, anyone?

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  11. http://www.math.ias.edu/people/2010-2010members

    some ias postdocs

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  12. USC interviewed theory people, but I don't know who they hired.

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  13. Who else did MIT interview?

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  14. MIT EECS interviews:

    http://www.csail.mit.edu/events/eventcalendar/calendar.php?show=series&id=157

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  15. @13. USC CS did not hire in theory this year, alas (see post #9). However, Dorit Hochbaum is joining USC ISE this Fall (from Berkeley), and AFAIK, Hamid Nazerzadeh will be joining USC Business School in Fall 2011. Oh, and USC CS will almost certainly be interviewing in theory again next year.

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  16. I guess MIT has no confidence that Ronitt or Madhu will return.

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  17. The right way to do this is with a job market wiki or "rumor mill".

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  18. what does it mean "MSR made permanent"?

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  19. It means MSR gave him a researcher position, as opposed to a postdoc.

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  20. Did Vinod Vaikuntanathan go to UW?

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  21. GATech takes Prasad Raghavendra

    http://www.cc.gatech.edu/computing/Theory/theory.html

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  22. ^ That was last year.

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  23. Vinod Vaikuntanathan -> MSR ?

    Muthu Venkitasubramaniam -> Rochester

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  24. Why don't we participate in

    http://notable.math.ucdavis.edu/wiki/Mathematics_Jobs_Wiki

    Just send an email to Greg.

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  25. UC Berkeley Simons -> Ilias Diakonikolas.

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  26. PSU also interviewed theory people, but I don't know if they hired in theory.

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  27. Elad verbin -> Stockholm University

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  28. elad verbin -> Stockholm University

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  29. also UWisconsin Madison, but I don't know who they hired.

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  30. Iftach Haitner -> Tel Aviv
    Tal Moran -> IDC Herzliya
    Vipul Goyal -> MSR India
    Mohammad Ghidary -> Cornell (postdoc)
    Kai Min Chung -> Cornell (postdoc)

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  31. Keren Censor Hillel -> MIT (Simons postdoc)
    Lev Reyzin -> Georgia Tech (Simons postdoc)

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  32. Krzysztof Onak -> CMU (Simons postdoc)
    Grant Schoenebeck -> Princeton (Simons postdoc)

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  33. Any more "permanent" jobs? Looks like a lot of people got postdocs, but not that many jobs.

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  34. Any more "permanent" jobs? Looks like a lot of people got postdocs, but not that many jobs.

    Two new Iowa State theory Ph.D.'s did just get assistant professorships (in addition to their first FOCS paper :-)

    Matthew Patitz -> University of Texas - Panamerican

    Scott Summers -> University of Wisconsin - Platteville

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  35. Tom Ristenpart -> U Wisconsin
    Kamalika Chaudhuri -> UCSD

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  36. Gagan Goel -> Google, NY (permanent)

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  37. Vinod Vaikuntanathan -> Toronto?

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  38. help me out:
    this
    http://www.informatik.uni-trier.de/~ley/db/indices/a-tree/h/Hajiaghayi:Mohammad_Taghi.html
    gives you assistant prof at umd?

    corrections:
    Elad Verbin is going to Arhus
    Lev Reyzin may join Georgia Tech but probably not as a Simons postdoc (which is only for recent grads)

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  39. IIIT-Delhi (India) is hiring. They might be interested in having a few good theory people.

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  40. Yes, and this gets you MIT.

    http://dblp.uni-trier.de/db/indices/a-tree/m/Moshkovitz:Dana.html

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  41. Amy Wang ITCS -> Communist Party

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  42. corrections: Communist Party -> Amy Wang (ITCS) -> Communist Party (permanent)

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  43. help me out:
    this
    http://www.informatik.uni-trier.de/~ley/db/indices/a-tree/h/Hajiaghayi:Mohammad_Taghi.html
    gives you assistant prof at umd?

    yes, with the expectation of promotion to tenured associate prof within a year.

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  44. compare previous anon with

    http://www.informatik.uni-trier.de/~ley/db/indices/a-tree/w/Wang:Yuexuan.html

    And this give you full professorship ? ... what a difference in standards and expectations.

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  45. Previous anons: It's not quantity. In maths, about 7 strong papers can get you full prof at stanford: http://www.math.princeton.edu/~mmirzakh/

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  46. last anon, different anon here.
    clearly there is see no depth and strength in paper mentioned by previous previous anon.

    additionally, the person in question is not mathematician but control manager and engineer. so while ur comment is true not applicable for last anon's concern.

    it's strength in relation to communist party that matters there.

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  47. Previous anons: this is completely wrong comparison. CS is much different than Math in promotions.

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  48. True last anon: CS is much different than Math in promotions and CS in ITCS promotion much different than the rest of world.
    relation and strength to communist party matters only.

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  49. Actually I was quite surprised that MIT gave an offer to Dana Moshkovitz. A few years back they didn't give an offer to Julia Chuzhoy (which seems much stronger, see their publications)

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  50. does it mean that amy wang ITCS is a communist party member or indircetly employed by it? wow ... yep yep, true then, the communist party has its hands everywhere. that also explains the super inflow of funding, and the promotion to her becoming director.

    Skewish things going on here.

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  51. I find the anonymous comments disparaging people's work to be in exceedingly poor taste---when Mihai Patrascu (for example) attacks other people's research on his blog, at least he has the courage to sign his name!

    Regarding Dana M., it might be worth mentioning that she won the FOCS'08 best paper award, and that she and Subhash Khot now have a serious program (arguably the only one) for proving the Unique Games Conjecture.

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  52. help me out:
    this
    http://www.informatik.uni-trier.de/~ley/db/indices/a-tree/h/Hajiaghayi:Mohammad_Taghi.html
    gives you assistant prof at umd?


    What's wrong with UMD? (Ranked 14 in the last USNews ranking.) Note also that he was given a named position, which has some prestige. AFAIK, he did not interview anywhere else: some people care about things other than rankings.

    yes, with the expectation of promotion to tenured associate prof within a year.

    Not as far as I know

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  53. To previous previous Anon: Note that she won the best paper award with Ran Raz (her advisor). Ran won several best paper awards so far and so I do not think giving the full credit to her is fair. About the new work I didn't see any substantial result yet (even in this upcoming FOCS). So I cannot judge based on a plan.

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  54. As someone who knows both Ran and Dana, I can tell you that Dana played a major role in the 2-query PCP with subconst error, which was one of the biggest advances in hardness of approximation in the last decade. I can also tell you that Berkeley and Cornell both made Dana offers before MIT did---so if MIT made a mistake, at least they're in good company.

    As for Dana and Subhash's work on UGC, the first piece of it is here on ECCC, and she and Subhash have also given talks about it.

    In my opinion, comparing researchers by # of publications is asinine---which is why you'll often find the best universities avoiding it. They tend to care more about breakthroughs.

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  55. Last anon, I doubt the veracity of your story. How could Berkeley make a faculty offer to anyone, let alone a theorist, in this economy?

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  56. Last anon: Given what one hears about Berkeley's finances, I was surprised too! Yet make her an offer they did, as I'm sure you can confirm by asking around. After the recent loss of Luca Trevisan, maybe they wanted to show the world that Berkeley remains one of the world's great centers for theory (some would say the greatest one).

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  57. Given the stories of Berkeley and MIT that they lost their people you may want to say Cornell didn't have any real computational theorist at the first place and they wanted to hire one since several years ago.

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  58. by da way, it is Amy Yuexuan Wang, not Amy Wang. She is a very kind hearted, generous, loving and enthusiastic professor. It's a great previlege to be one of her discipling students.

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  59. emmmm.... grin, the last anon's comment hard to digest.

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  60. Google research group in New York will have three new theoreticians:

    Gagan Goel, Nitish Korula, and Silvio Lattanzi.

    We are very happy with our hiring performance this year.

    --Vahab

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  61. I guess Mohammad could not go to MIT as he got his PhD there.

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  62. It seems that although Toronto did interviewed a few theorists (among others), they did not hire a theorist this year. But since they have lost a theorist this year, they might hire one in near future.

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  63. I guess Mohammad could not go to MIT as he got his PhD there.

    Aren't there tons of MIT faculty who got their PhD from MIT?

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  64. >Aren't there tons of MIT faculty who got their PhD from MIT?

    I don't have the data, and I may be wrong, but I think it usually does not look good if a school directly employs his own PhD graduates, those that you are referring to might have been employed in other universities first and then returned to MIT after sometime.

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  65. I think it usually does not look good if a school directly employs his own PhD graduates

    I don't think it's a problem. As you can see, MIT's decision doesn't look good anyway.

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  66. those that you are referring to might have been employed in other universities first and then returned to MIT after sometime.

    I agree that most places prefer not to hire their own PhDs. But my guess is that MIT probably feels it has the best students, and that it would be doing itself a disservice by not hiring its own PhDs!

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  67. rite , after letting richard feynman go, they learned their mistakes.

    some dept seem to be still making same mistakes all over again.

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  68. ...it usually does not look good if a school directly employs his own PhD graduates...

    Example: Daniel Spielman (BA: Yale, PhD: MIT, then he was employed by MIT and now by Yale. He has only done a short postdoc outside)

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  69. Please, MiP for example made arguably more important breakthroughs and had a stronger publications record, and still did not get TT offers at good institutions.

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  70. It seems that although Toronto did interviewed a few theorists (among others), they did not hire a theorist this year. But since they have lost a theorist this year, they might hire one in near future.

    Who did Toronto lose?

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  71. Last anon: Avner Magen. He tragically died in a climbing accident.

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  72. Please, MiP for example made arguably more important breakthroughs and had a stronger publications record, and still did not get TT offers at good institutions.

    MiP is really a special case; he has a long-demonstrated tendency to sabotage himself...

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  73. last anon, can u be specific ? wat u mean ?

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  74. > last anon, can u be specific ? wat u mean ?

    how about this one:

    Anon: Mihai, why is Erik your co-author in this paper? Wasn't it you who proved the result? What was Erik's contribution?

    MiP: No contribution to this particular paper, except indirectly through funding etc...

    http://infoweekly.blogspot.com/2009/11/simple-encoding-proof.html

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  75. is this supposed to be bad ?
    i don't understand plz elaborate on this point

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  76. About Dana Moshkovitz: she is Scott Aaronson's girlfriend. My understanding of the story is that Cornell first made a move and made both of them an offer. MIT was forced to decide between letting Scott go or getting Dana. They apparently decided that Dana is a strong researcher so no harm in getting both of them.

    I don't know how Berkeley fits into the story, but they might have come up with the same plan as Cornell.

    I also don't understand how Mihai sabotaged himself *in this particular example*. Presumably Demaine already wrote in his letters that his contribution to the paper was zero?

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  77. Aaron Roth:
    -> MSR NE -> Penn (this was on his slide stack at EC 2010).

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  78. incredible, so dana is scott's girlfriend? And scott was willing to leave MIT if she hadn't got accepted. WOW That's news for once.

    Such relationships do payy off at the end.

    Making one understand how people with soft publications can get promoted to full professorship at certain institute abroad.

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  79. for mihai: Presumably Demaine already wrote in his letters that his contribution to the paper was zero?

    how does this sabotage oneself ? someone please explain

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  80. As a friend of Dana's, I wanted to correct some statements made about her here that are not only nasty but (more to the point) factually wrong.

    For starters, Berkeley---not Cornell---was the first to make her an offer, and they apparently did it despite her two-body issue rather than because of it. At first, Berkeley didn't even think they had the funding to make Scott an offer (certainly not this year); they mostly just wanted Dana. Then Cornell made her an offer, and lastly MIT did. Then Berkeley got clearance from their dean (or someone) to make a very attractive offer to both of them. In the end, though, Dana and Scott decided on MIT. (Interestingly, I'm told that Cornell never made Scott an offer.)

    Basically, it's hard to imagine an easier, less-problematic two-body "problem" than this one! We're talking about two people who were both wanted individually by some of the top departments.

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  81. @lastanon
    you are such a goodhearted person for blogospheripping everything here. what a good friend you must have been!

    why they did not end up @ UC Berkley though remains a mystery. I am well aware of the very attractive compensation offer both would have been provided with ...

    MIT reached its peak some years ago, from now it's either keeping that position of downfall. Berkley on the other hand, fell to its bottomless depth some years ago. Same applies here either it keeps that position of goes upwards. Lots of playground and opportunities here.

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  82. >I agree that most places prefer not to hire their own PhDs. But my guess is that MIT probably feels it has the best students, and that it would be doing itself a disservice by not hiring its own PhDs!

    My sentence had an adverb in it: usually. So of course exceptions apply. I think an even more exceptional case is Mark Braverman. He got his PhD in Toronto and as far as I know got an offer from Toronto even before doing any postdocs, which considering his work (among them solving a 20 year open conjecture from LN) I don't think anyone would think they have made a mistake here.

    One more point about Mohammadtaghi Hajiaghayi is that he is working in AGT, and MIT already has considerable number of people in AGT.

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  83. blogospheripping - hahaha, wat a word. i like i like

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  84. did grad school in CS approx a decade ago. many names dont ring bells here. mihai and scotts do.

    got interested in amy wang after name got dropped. initially thought she was a postdoc but then i google and found out she is a director of an institute in tsinghua. then i googled further and found out that the institute is run by andrew yao. Learned this name in grad school. What happened to his wife ? When I did CS, I was told that his wife got him into CS to begin with ? Shouldn't she have been the co-director ? Seems that odd things happening here.

    Divorced ? Separated ?

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  85. A different question: I don't tend to post responses on blogs. However, when one sees an abuse of anonymity as offensive as the ones on this thread, which is the better response: ignore it, or participate and post your objection? Should the blog manager remove the offensive comments? I would vote that while anonymity has it's purposes, abuses of anonymity have no place in a community blog.

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  86. A different question: I don't tend to post responses on blogs. However, when one sees an abuse of anonymity as offensive as the ones on this thread, which is the better response: ignore it, or participate and post your objection? Should the blog manager remove the offensive comments? I would vote that while anonymity has it's purposes, abuses of anonymity have no place in a community blog.

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  87. Last anon: Completely agreed! But I think this sort of gutter discussion was a predictable result of Bill's original post. He and Lance should be ashamed of themselves for giving the scummiest aspects of our community such a prominent forum on their blog. It would be like a CS department installing a bulletin board in the lobby, with a huge sign:

    "Embittered? Nursing a grudge against one of your colleagues? Then post your anonymous slander here! We promise we won't take anything down."

    Of course I'd steal a glance at such a bulletin board---who wouldn't? But it wouldn't make me feel great about myself or the department.

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  88. To last two anons, I beg to differ. The issues discussed in the comments above were all of professional concern (perhaps, excluding the peculiar iterative mention of some ITCS administrative).
    Unfortunately, and contrary to what one could expect, the academic system (in the West at least) does not subscribe to very high ethical standards, as opposed to some other public systems. Whereas, in most public systems decisions are made public and have certain level of scrutiny and transparency, and committee discussions have protocols and should hold accountable and responsible for their decisions (which are also reversible), in the academic world there are much less openness and fairness. Discussions are not transparent, often are biased, and cardinal decisions seem arbitrary (may it be paper rejections, hiring decisions, promotion etc.) Therefore, people who have less power and authority try to find their way in this world, and maybe even raise objections to what they perceive as peculiar decisions taken by the authorities. Naturally, they do it anonymously.
    What you suggest is silencing public debate on arguable matters, and by that leaving all the power to those who already have power. This is unethical.

    Now, you may object by saying that "the academic authorities" are mostly private and not public, and so they can do whatever they like. For this I would answer that in this case, if everything is a "fair play" as you claim, then so does the public can do whatever it wishes to do, even if this means being "nasty" sometimes.

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  89. Of course I'd steal a glance at such a bulletin board---who wouldn't?

    Ha! I'll plead guilty to checking this post regularly, to see just how many cars are in this trainwreck. I think, just as our bodies crave sugar and fat, we have an instinctive survival skill to pay attention to conflict and emotional drama. The problem arises when the modern age allows us easy access to Doritos, corn syrup, and soap operas -- or complexity blogs ;-)

    when one sees an abuse of anonymity as offensive as the ones on this thread, which is the better response: ignore it, or participate and post your objection?

    I've been ignoring so far, because responding might just stir the pot. I believe, though, that this is a symptom of something Russell Impagliazzo wrote on the Future of STOC blog: there aren't enough jobs for researchers, and there aren't enough great jobs for great researchers. It's a "promise problem": people believe the promise that if they graduate from a prestigious undergraduate institution and then a prestigious graduate program after publishing in prestigious venues, they will get a prestigious job. The reality is that the promise is broken. And, when people are not used to the unfairness of life working in someone else's favor, they look for things to blame.

    Unless the job market improves over the next few years (and I see no reason to believe it will), I anticipate a greater current of unease than we are seeing now. People are bound to be upset if they feel they are sacrificing years of their lives "for nothing."

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  90. Completely agree with you Aaron.
    However I think that there is nothing wrong, if you get a job because of your spouse.
    Dana is a great researcher, she should only care about doing good research.
    She is just very lucky!!!

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  91. Last anon: From your viewpoint, there is nothing wrong if you get a job because of your spouse. Others might beg to differ and many comments on Dana's move to MIT proves it. One should be qualified for the job.

    After losing Madhu Sudan, MIT had a very simple decision to make: losing Scott or gaining Dana. Given that Dana is one of the rising stars in TCS, they decided to offer her a job. Period.

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  92. I also agree with Aaron. But the problem is that being more open about such decisions is helpful to justify them. It seems that some people who were looking for positions are simply annoyed that it is not even announced that MIT is looking for a new person in theory (or at least they didn't notice it). The same with Berkeley.

    Lets face it, to get a position in a prestigious university, what is needed is more that extraordinary research and publication record. For example networking is important, my humble opinion is that you are an Israeli you have a better chance just because there are more extraordinary Israelis working in TCS and they know each other (and their students). Also being a woman increases your chances, universities naturally want to increase the current very low percentage of women in CS. From what I have seen, you really need someone inside the faculty to support strongly your case to get a job. When there are many researchers of high quality, other factors enter into the decision process. If there are two applicant with almost similar research quality, then the one who has a better network or is a female or people like more or ... is preferred.
    There are other other factors beside quality of research that effect decisions and what is offending some in the community is these factors who find considering these non-research issues unfair.

    The solution for easing the current pressure is getting less phd students, creating more positions, and increasing other possibilities for people graduating with a phd in theory. I don't see a problem as severe in say systems and networking, because they can go to industry and find jobs which are close to what they have done in the graduate school. This is not the case for TCS. They don't want to get into what math graduates go through (several postdocs, no permanent job, always moving from a place to an other, ...), they don't compare themselves to math, they compare themselves to other areas in CS. If we don't do anything about this, the environment will get nastier which is harmful to TCS, and this in trun will cause intelligent students to shift to areas where they can find jobs which would be very bad for theory.

    No job perspectives after graduation, fewer good students. It is just that simple.

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  93. Last anon, I salute you.
    You raised 2 points which everyone knew, but no one was ready to raise in the public.
    1) Israel Factor
    2) Women Factor
    Thanks for raising this issue.

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  94. Last anon, I did not mention those factors as a criticism. What I am saying is the process should be more open and more transparent. I personally don't think considering these factors is unfair, it would be unfair if we had two applicants with considerable difference in their quality of research and publications and we choose the one which is inferior because of non-research factors, but when the difference between applicants is small, I personally don't think considering these factors is unfair.

    I think the problem mentioned by Aaron Sterling (and Russell Impagliazzo) is much more important and we should do something about it. I think that as a community we should help increase interesting possibilities for theory graduates, the senior members of community have a greater responsibility here. IMHO, AGT and Crypto are doing relatively well compared to other areas in theory. Other areas should do more to boost the job perspective of theory graduates. This will ease the pressure students feel after graduating.

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  95. Dana is a strong researcher but let's not call her a rising star just yet. She has quite a way to go to establishing herself as a "star".

    I also disagree with the idea that this post is driven by frustrated students on the market. Myself and several older colleagues have certainly been observing :)

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  96. Just as a point of information, the MIT EECS dept. generally doesn't do "area searches." In other words, they're always open in principle to hiring a theory person; in practice, they seem to hire about one every 2-3 years. (Besides Dana, the last three were Erik Demaine, Scott Aaronson, and Costis Daskalakis; Jon Kelner was also hired in Math.)

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  97. Everyone knows that their odds of getting a research position are miniscule, but their anxiety is mollified by the belief that it is at least a meritocracy. It isn't. There are many qualified people for these positions, and choosing between them is rarely based on objective merit. Life isn't fair, and academia, with its scarcity of positions, is worse. That doesn't excuse the system, but it isn't Dana's fault. I was sorry to see some of the comments here, but even still it is better to have this politicking in the open and discussed, even anonymously, than kept private.

    I am disappointed, though, that Scott didn't announce their job search on his blog, and that they didn't make their final decision live on ESPN. What an opportunity, missed!

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  98. @(who did grad school in CS approx a decade ago)

    According to Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Yao, they are still married.

    Unsure how other people such as an ITCS administrative member fit in.

    By the way, Dana is an uprising star. Less than Erik was, more like Scott.

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  99. Last anon, I salute you.
    You raised 2 points which everyone knew, but no one was ready to raise in the public.
    1) Israel Factor
    2) Women Factor


    Uhh, isn't factor 2) common knowledge? Whether you agree with the policy or not, every CS department I've ever heard of is completely open about making special efforts to recruit women, given the huge gender imbalance that still exists.

    As for factor 1), if Israeli domination of TCS is keeping you up at night, then I guess you could comfort yourself by thinking about how much tougher the TCS job market would have been, had Hitler not helpfully thinned out so much of the potential competition.

    (And yes, given the nature of this thread, it did seem time to finally fulfill Godwin's Law and thereby bring things to a close)

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  100. So if Erik was a star, why did he allow his name to be listed as co-author on a paper to which he made no substantial intellectual contribution. Is this a common practice in TCS?

    Are there any similar cases? Let's air our grievances while we are at it.

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  101. @last anon, he established stardom long before this happened and who cares about this ? Seriously who does ?

    That's not unusual practice to have your adviser on your paper ----- if the paper is somewhat decent.

    Of course, there are some people *cough cough cough* who seem to have abused this practice and forced their students to write papers for rather than with them. A certain ITCS Administrative ?

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  102. Inaccuracy of authorship in general...lack of meritocracy...networking...academic politics...

    Do you not see the connection?

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  103. In fact, if there is any hope of making academia more "fair" (merit based) it is by having these discussions. "Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants." Unfortunately as long as the people being criticised sit on PCs, anonymity will also play a role.

    Gossip aside, it seems that having essentially one result, a hardness of approximation breakthrough, makes you a star. Whereas several breakthroughs in other areas do not. This is a useful tidbit to know, with all kinds of interesting implications.

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  104. now that you are talking about sitting on PCs .................................. how can it be that some ITCS Administrative Directors whose publication record is weak is sitting on so many of them ?

    A flaw of the system, but there's no way to reconcile this is there ?

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  105. Why do you have such a hardon for Amy Wang? I've never spoken to her, nor read any of her papers. (We have been in the same room together, seated far apart, so I know what she looks like.) However, if she's the organizing force behind recruiting so many luminaries as ITCS Chair Professors, and the excellent local arrangements of the first ICS, then, if I were the Chinese government, I'd be investing heavily in her, regardless of her politics, or her personal research output.

    I also disagree with the idea that this post is driven by frustrated students on the market. Myself and several older colleagues have certainly been observing :)

    I'm not sure what other commenters are saying, but I wasn't trying to claim that the anonymous comments were primarily from grad students or recent PhD's. I have no idea who is commenting. I was trying to express something more like this: there have always been hiring decisions people considered unfair. However, in a good job market, you can say, "Yes, my friend, you should have gotten the job instead of the person they hired, but hey, no big deal, because you have a job now at (institution with similar characteristics)." When no other jobs exist, there's no way to lick wounds. The people who don't "win" simply lose. That will affect the atmosphere of any discussion like this, regardless of the age or job status of the people in the discussion.

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  106. Is there actually any evidence that women receive preferential treatment in hiring? It seems as if the representation of women in the grad student population is higher than in the faculty population, which would suggest otherwise.

    Also, did Stanford hire anyone?

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  107. ITCS is awesome.
    I am a non theory person and I had not heard about ITCS.
    However I am confused. Why is Tshingua U. investing so much in theory?
    Why not in Robotics or ML or some other more useful area?
    Please don't get me wrong. I think theory is useful, but of course not as useful as Robotics.

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  108. I am disappointed, though, that Scott didn't announce their job search on his blog, and that they didn't make their final decision live on ESPN. What an opportunity, missed!

    Maybe he's tired of that sort of thing?

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  109. itcs is awesome ? is bad ? is good ? none of these attributions is useful, particularly from an outsider. I myself have never been to these places but know that chinese mainland propaganda is an awesome tool/knife. my two cents, beware. i took a look at the website and after reading bits and pieces, thought we are in some sort of sect/cult.

    Aaron, make sure the chinese government is reading your positive review.

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  110. If only young TCS researchers adopted the philosophy of mathematicians as aptly expressed by Connes --
    "mathematicians work for the grudging approbation of a few friends" -- then all this angst about not getting a job at MIT will go away. Moreover, it might be better for ones long term research goal NOT to be at a super-competitive private US university with constant pressure for producing FOCS/STOC style research. It seems unlikely that that the fundamental, deep problems of the field (P vs NP, effcient factoring etc.) will be solved by the people indulging in these research practices at the "highly competitive" US universities.

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  111. If only young TCS researchers adopted the philosophy of mathematicians as aptly expressed by Connes -- "mathematicians work for the grudging approbation of a few friends" -- then all this angst about not getting a job at MIT will go away.

    Lots of people have philosophized about the unimportance of worldly acclaim ... especially people who already won a Nobel Prize or (in this case) Fields Medal. ;-D

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  112. Lots of people have philosophized about the unimportance of worldly acclaim ... especially people who already won a Nobel Prize or (in this case) Fields Medal. ;-D

    True. But most mathematicians appreciate (certainly Connes does) that many or even most of the greats
    (whose achievements were far greater than most most of today's Fields medallists) received very little aclaim or recognition during their lives -- Riemann, Abel, Ramanujan, Galois, and a host of others. Many produced their great works in trying conditions -- even prisoner camps (Leray). This tradition continues today -- Perelmann. All this makes most of todays mathematicians (or at least the perceptive ones) a little humble and not take things for granted. Surely, a position at MIT (cushy that such a job might be) is no indication (far less a guarantee) that such a person will produce work of lasting impact. In fact even in theoretical CS recent evidence points otherwise.

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  113. I look to Perelman as my example of heroism. Without highly principled individuals like him, I could end up in a mental institution. As a principled researcher myself, academic politics can drive me crazy. Then he reminded me what mathematics is all about, what research is all about. Truth and beauty exist in the subject, if not in the groups and individuals who study it.

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  114. "I look to Perelman as my example of heroism."

    Perelman is surely admirable in all respects. But one should not forget the contributions of many more mathematicians from the ex-Soviet Union and Eastern Europe who worked in an equally selfless way under extremely trying conditions.

    That having said --
    this mindless pursuit of position in "elite departments" is a madness that seems to be particular to TCS people -- most research mathematicians are perhaps happy to be in a research department with a few people in their area to talk to (such as a typical big 10 university or a midling UC ). Apparently, not so for TCS people for whom anything short of MIT is apparently all doom and gloom. To be honest most TCS people will be better off in a math department anyways -- where the pressure to publish in FOCS/STOC is non-existent (and unrewarded) and there is more freedom to pursue more serious longer term projects in their area.

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  115. I heard that Oded Regev once applied to "elite departments" in US and he didn't get an offer. If Oded didn't land up with a job at these so called elite departments, then perhaps a lot of us shouldn't be disheartened. Such is life!

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  116. paul erdoes -> Google

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  117. Johny von Neumann --> Stanford (tenured).

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  118. Alan Turing --> UCSD (TT)

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  119. Djikstra --> ETH Zurich (postdoc)

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  120. Carolus Fridericus Gauss --> Latin University of Costa Rica (postdoctus)

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  121. comments --> trash bin (tenured)

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  122. comments --> trash bin --> untrash --> recycle first

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  123. why isn't academia a meritocracy?

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  124. "why isn't academia a meritocracy?"

    because where there are humans working a group, there is bound to be politics. has been this way since the dawn of time, and will remain this way until the earth is gobbled up by the sun.

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  125. I am really shocked at the amount of petty begrudgery and personal attacks going on in this thread. While anonymity prevents the comments reflecting on the real culprits, they reflect badly on the community as a whole. I cannot conceive of how people are finding it appropriate to publicly belittle colleagues.

    To all those who found tenured and tenure track positions this year, congratulations (even to those who got jobs I had applied for).

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  126. The situation is similar to accepted papers in FOCS/STOC. When there are many qualified papers/researchers competing for a limited number of locations, the decisions between them becomes inevitably subjective to some extent. There is not an objective (or even an inter-subjective) way to make these decisions. Whoever makes these decisions, different people will have different subjective opinions about them. And some will not like the outcome, and may think they are biased. The PC members (the faculty) really wants to make the best decisions for the conferences (their departments). Everyone should understand that we simply don't have an inter-subjective way to make these decisions.

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  127. @joe I agree. What can we do ? Let's all sing a song.

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  128. A suggestion: future threads like this should not allow anonymous comments.

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  129. I know I'm late to this thread, but there's something else that I wanted to discuss here.

    I've always thought that Lance Fortnow and Bill Gasarch were both pedophiles. Of course that's just my personal opinion ... what does everyone else think about Lance and Bill's obvious pedophile behavior (you know what I'm talking about), or the kiddie porn on their computers? Given their role as the ToC "bloggers of record," I think no one could plausibly argue that if Lance and Bill are indeed molesting children, that's not a fact of general interest to the ToC community.

    Anyway, whatever your own opinion on this issue, what's most important is that we as a community be able to debate it freely and in the open. And if anonymous comments are the only way to do that, then so be it. As they say, sunlight is always the best disinfectant.

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  130. Come on. Grow up. I think the people have the right to discuss decisions made in the best universities in their country, e.g., US. This makes decision makers more careful in the future. Are there any other places except these blogs to put comments on such decisions?

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  131. will remain this way until the earth is gobbled up by the sun

    the more recent comments have me hoping the sun wins. soon.

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  132. I disbelieve in saying "some truth behind everything" but when I read stuff here, I think maybe true. i am robocop from Czech republic. predicate: Good blog, keep blogging this way.

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  133. I don't think the discussion was THAT BAD as some people are making it out to be. Yes, it had somewhat more of a different tone than the discussions were normally have but the actual accusations were not that bad. To summarize:

    A: Dana Moshkovitz will be an assistant professor at MIT.

    B: But she doesn't have that many papers!

    A: Quality is more important than quantity. She has won a best paper award and her work is highly regarded.

    B: But her advisor is the famous Ran Raz. He probably really did the work!

    A: Not true, she did do the work and now together with Subhash Khot she has the only approach to the Unique Games Conjecture.

    B: But she was only hired because of Scott Aaronson!

    A: Nuh-uh Berkely and Cornell wanted to hire her too, proving that she is a "hot commodity." Besides 2-body hires are not uncommon in academia. This is nothing new.

    B: Humph!

    So there you have it. Some people questioned Moshkovitz's hiring and others provided evidence to defend it. Moshkovitz or Aaronson were not accused of doing anything wrong or unethical and ultimately everyone will have to judge for themselves the value of their research.[To me they both appear to be strong researchers, but I am not expert enough to be a really good judge]

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  134. Some comments have gone too far. By and large, people are frustrated by the system, and not by Dana or Scott. The TCS system is cliquish and uncaring. Despite the jobs crisis, there have been no efforts to make any changes, or even to gather statistics.

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  135. Periklis A. Papakonstantinou -> Assistant Prof. at Institute for Theoretical Computer Science, Tsinghua University

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  136. @lastnon, while itcs look average for an emergency postodoc, it aint the place to be spending the most productive part of ur life.

    as history repeats. china's mentality, bring the foreigner's in. let them do the b.... work.

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  137. good old soviet union. best computer scientists and education here.

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  138. >Is there actually any evidence that women receive preferential treatment in hiring? It seems as if the representation of women in the grad student population is higher than in the faculty population, which would suggest otherwise.

    First, I am not a statistician and don't know how these numbers should be interpreted. There are many factors involved here.
    Second, it seems to me that there is an error in the argument, one should not compare the percentage of current women faculty with the percentage of *current* women PhD students, but rather with the percentage of women PhD students at the time of their employment. Third, yes, as far as I have seen, there is a clear intention in my school to increase the percentage of women in CS and this includes the faculty, and think this is similar in other places.

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  139. looks like the list of simons postdocs is here

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  140. Nanyang Technological University in Singapore is hiring in TCS. Interested candidates, please apply at this link http://www3.ntu.edu.sg/NAP/index.html

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  141. afaik simons offered postdocs in theory to recent graduates (must receive PhD during the academic year immediately preceding that in which the fellowship begins) at cornell, mit, berkeley, cmu, ucsd, ga tech

    extracted from the list of anon -2

    Censor, Karen (Keren Censor Hillel)
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Chung, Kai-Min
    Cornell University

    Diakonikolas, Ilias
    University of California, Berkeley

    Lokshtanov, Daniel
    University of California, San Diego

    Onak, Krzysztof
    Carnegie-Mellon University

    Reyzin, Lev
    Georgia Tech Foundation

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  142. Some people have difficulty appreciating the academic "free" market. For whatever reasons, Dana Moshkovitz got a tenure track job at MIT.

    It might that:

    (1) MIT saw what others don't want to see, and took the lead, making an offer. So, maybe they see what you don't.

    (2) MIT wanted to keep her significant other. Again, for them, it is less of a financial burden to offer her a job at 90K, than to offer someone they will tenure 180K. Remember, all good things may last 6 years.

    (3) MIT made a blunder, in which case they have either 3 or 6 years to correct.

    The questionable assumption is that academics is merit only. If anyone follows science closely, knows how much cliques, preferences and prejudices play a role in what areas get grants or even publications... It is like football. Sometimes, an unknown team wins the championship. But most of the time, Barcelona, Real Madrid and the likes are finalists...

    So is life. Also, some commentators seem too convinced they have a better case than the person offered a job... That might just be your opinion.

    I come from a country where departments have no such autonomy. It is frustrating and a lot more unfair, than the system here...

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