Monday, October 10, 2011

More than East and West

The Obama Campaign is creating a Campaign Analytics Team.
Love Data, Predictive Analytics, Social Media and Politics? The Analytics team for the Obama Campaign is hiring full-time analytics engineers and scientists at our headquarters in Chicago!
To find out more, come meet us at the Stanford campus ...
To find good computer scientists, the Obama campaign feels the need to look 1850 miles away. A stark  reminder that especially in the tech world, people often forget that there is an America between Oakland and Philadelphia. Google, IBM, Microsoft and Yahoo have research labs around the globe but generally ignore middle America. Chicago is often considered at best a place to change planes.

Chicago has amazing arts, music, food, sports and architecture, everything you'd want in a city and considerably cheaper than the coasts. We know we have great universities and a strong intellectual core. How many cities have a battle for the minds between the Chicago Ideas Week starting today and the Chicago Humanities Festival beginning next week?

Chicago isn't as well known for its high tech. Computer science in Chicago is good but not yet as strong as it should be. We do have some very strong CS departments nearby at Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Purdue. Chicago has had its successful startups most notably Groupon. Chicago should be a major high tech hub but we need to sell ourselves better.

Next time you are stranded at O'Hare, take the El to the Loop and check out our great city. Prepare to be amazed.


  1. Chicago is a coastal city: Lake Michigan might as well be an ocean.

  2. It's not quite as bad as it sounds. I believe the analytics operation is headed up by Rayid Ghani, who moved to Chicago after grad school at CMU.

  3. I believe that a lot of coastal dwellers' tendency to overlook the Midwest is due, not to social snobbery (as easily assumed---though this does contribute), but to the powerful emotional influence of the ocean itself. Having grown up in California, I feel deeply connected to the ocean, even though I don't visit it very often and am not a "spiritual" person. That feeling of connectedness is not easy to give up; and the Great Lakes, though lovely, don't give me the same feeling. I would not relocate inland without considerable hesitation.

    (This is not to say that other geographic regions don't have their own beauty and sources of attachment; but they're not the ones I know and love.)

  4. this appears to be a total overreaction to a single event at a top school

    are there other such events all located far away from you or is this a matter of them going to the NUMBER ONE RANKED SCHOOL and it just happens to be 1850 miles away

  5. # years I've been a theoretical computer scientist: 8
    # times I've been to O'Hare: >10
    # times I've been to Chicago: 0

    When there's a reason to go, I'll go.

  6. Cheer up, you've got the Chicago school of economics. Actually, maybe that's why the Obama team decided to look elsewhere for their campaign analysis...

  7. ChicagoIsTooColdForSurferDudes2:28 PM, October 11, 2011

    Perhaps you should send an email to an ex UofC colleague, a certain ex-Illinois State Senator from the 13th District, who taught law at the University of Chicago...

  8. Anonymous at 12:39 Oct 11 wrote that he was a Theoretical Computer Scientist who will come to Chicago when there is a reason to.

    Here is a partial list of reasons (for a Theoretical Computer Scientist uninterested in all the things Lance wrote about)

    Babai, Chuzoy, Dasgupta, Fortnow, Hartline, Immorlica, Makarychev, McQueen, Mulmuley, Khot, Kurtz, Razborov, Soare, Simon, Sistla, Sloan, Tait, Tulsani, Turan.

    (apologies to the folks I omitted from DePaul and IIT, to people in Machine Learning, Economics, Game Theory and Math: I have a bad internet connection)