Thursday, March 03, 2011

Greetings from Porto

Today we just finished the thesis defense of Andre Souto at University of Porto. Good News: He passed the defense so now we call him Dr. Souto. Better news: By law he has to be paid more in his current teaching job. Not so good news: They will fire him before they pay him more. First time I put someone out of a job by passing them in a Ph.D. defense.

His thesis was in Kolmogorov complexity. One particularly neat trick from his thesis: A PRG that under reasonable assumptions maps strings of length O(log n) to strings of length 2^O(n), a double exponential jump done by combining two PRGs based on Nisan and Wigderson.

I love doing these defenses outside the US. We got to dress like monks when quizzing the defendant. After the defense we had a wonderful lunch with Port Wine from Porto of course.

Andre the Defender

The Jury: Harry Buhrman, Luis Antunes, me and Armando Matos


  1. That looks good on you Lance, maybe you should join a monastery!

  2. By law, would a $1 raise cover the requirement?

  3. From my familiarity with the Greek system, you have to "resign" before you apply for a promotion. This is true up and including your first tenured position (associate professor).

    In addition, PHDs and graduate TAs are not getting paid directly, only if they are into a research directive , usually from EU.

    In conclusion, after you become a lecturer, you still have 2 promotions that might fail.

    As an additional frustration, it is usual that the committees that decide on the promotion are from your own department, at least in their majority. You can understand what tensions this can create.