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Monday, October 04, 2010

The Annual Fall Jobs Post

The CRA is working on setting guidelines for job deadlines to help out with some of the gridlock in the job market. Many of the top departments have already moved their deadlines for full consideration to early December or November. Keep an eye out and remember to apply early this year.

Possible theory tenure-track faculty jobs at Harvard, Rutgers, TTI-C and Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil). For more faculty and postdoc listings: CRA, ACM, Theory Announcements and CCI. Also check out web pages of departments that interest you.

A little early to tell but this year will likely be similar to last year: a small number of tenure-track positions in TCS and a large number of postdoc positions. Out of necessity almost everyone does a postdoc now and many people doing a second or third as well.

Have the theoretical computer science community actually moved to postdoc culture, where people are now expected to do a postdoc (or multiple postdocs) before taking a tenure-track position like physics, chemistry and biology? When did the field make that jump?

63 comments:

  1. I don't think we're heading to a strict expectation. I think it's going to be more balanced however, perhaps 50/50.

    The superstars practically turn their last year in the PhD program as a "postdoc," and they will always find jobs straight from grad school.

    The pickier superstars, who had offers but want to wait for the perfect one, are dormant in postdocs, and they could create a glut that won't be cleared until the next large retirement phase.

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  2. Hm, its not clear that all these links are for theory jobs. Harvard seems to be looking for AI, for example.

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  3. In many places outside the US there is definitely an expectation to do a post-doc after grad-school and before applying to tenure-track.

    A large portion of TCS is international, and this influences the trend.

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  4. Where are the Simons postdocs this year?

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  5. You can add University of Maryland to the list, at least in cryptography.

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  6. who willingly would like to go to the extreme south of brazil? do anyone ever heard about that faculty?

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  7. > Have the theoretical computer science community actually moved to postdoc culture, where people are now expected to do a postdoc (or multiple postdocs) before taking a tenure-track position like physics, chemistry and biology?

    People are not *expected* to do a postdoc, they are doing it because they can't find permanent jobs.

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  8. People are not *expected* to do a postdoc, they are doing it because they can't find permanent jobs.

    Sure, but now that it has happened, all those postdocs are going to have a better record than the grad students because of the extra time spent publishing, raising the bar for new assistant professor hires. Departments won't want to go back to hiring a grad student with "only" 8 publications when there is a big supply of postdocs with 20 publications, just as today they are unwilling to go back to the standards prior to the 90s when you could get hired with no publications. So perhaps the effect of the financial crisis was to permanently shift CS culture in the US to add a postdoc expectation.

    To take one example of something that a department couldn't get away with 5 years ago, and that would have inspired peals of laughter 25 years ago, look at UMass Lowell's ad, particularly the fifth paragraph describing the requirements for assistant professor:

    Assistant Professor. Applicants must ... have two or more years of teaching and research experience as assistant professors or postdoctoral researchers, have participated in significant federal grant writing ... We are especially seeking candidates with strong ongoing research who are PIs of funded projects from major US funding agencies. [emphasis mine]

    They explicitly forbid grad students from applying, and even though they say they will consider postdocs, postdocs are not allowed to be PI's on grants.

    My guess is that this will self-correct as the oversupply of Ph.D.'s backs off. But that will take time since it requires the depressing information about the new world order to trickle down to the bright undergraduates so that they realize how risky it is to attempt a research career. After all, I'm sure UMass Lowell isn't going to change their graduate school brochure to mention the fact that a job in research now requires first getting a grant from an agency that itself first requires you to have the job.

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  9. Apparently the page is called "Theory Annoucements", not "Announcements".

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  10. Thank you Lance for your pro forma annual jobs post.

    FYI: CCI now has ZERO positions listed on its website for this fall. The single Brazil ad expired in September.

    I think the TCS community has moved to a culture where people are expected to do a postdoc or multiple postdocs before leaving the field. There aren't any jobs.

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  11. Is the situation really so bad? Where did they fill permanent positions in theory last year? Off the top of my head:

    MIT

    Maryland

    Columbia

    Wisconsin

    UPenn

    UCSD

    Caltech

    Microsoft Research

    Technion

    Tel Aviv

    Toronto

    I'm sure I'm missing a bunch. So there's at least a dozen at R1 kind of places, presumably lots more at lower level schools. What is the number of hires in a healthy year?

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  12. Stagnation in TCS reflects stagnation threoughout of the global STEM enterprise ... the sole reason this isn't commonly discussed is the shortage of good ideas on what to do about it!

    NIH R01 awards are the mainstay of biomedical research careers; the average age of first-time recipients is now 40+years old. It will be very bad news if TCS continues down a similar path ... and yet that's where academic business-as-usual is headed ... both for TCS specifically, and broadly throughout the North American STEM enterprise.

    These harsh realities are well-understood by researchers in their thirties and older ... and they need to be similarly appreciated by researchers in their teens and twenties.

    That these harsh realities are associated to fabulous opportunities for creative enterprise is undeniably the case ... with TCS/QIT in a leading role ... and yet what Pogo said is also soberingly true: "We are surrounded by insurmountable opportunities."

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  13. Who did UCSD hire last year?

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  14. UCSD hire:
    http://pho.ucsd.edu/kamalika/

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  15. Wasn't aware that UCSD, Toronto, or Wisconsin hired in theory.

    Who did they hire?

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  16. Wisconsin: http://cseweb.ucsd.edu/~tristenp/

    UCSD: http://pho.ucsd.edu/kamalika/

    Toronto: http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~mbraverm/

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  17. It's pushing it to call the Wisconsin hire "theory".

    Also, M Braverman was hired on *last* year's cycle (if not earlier), i.e. 08-09 hiring season.

    Adding a few more "hires" to such a small pool really inflates the picture!

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  18. I take it back--the Wisconsin hire seems theoretical, although a little more practical (not a bad thing) than the normal crypto people.

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  19. Stanford has a tenure track opening in computer science. The department doesn't do targeted searches, so applicants from all areas, including theory, should apply

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  20. It seems that Vinod Vaikuntanathan is going to join Toronto from next year. Since you are saying Mark Braverman is hired last year, then Vinod Vaikuntanathan is hired this year.

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  21. Also, M Braverman was hired on *last* year's cycle (if not earlier), i.e. 08-09 hiring season.

    No. Read his webpage; graduated 2008, postdoc for two years at MS New England, then hired at Toronto in starting in 2010.

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  22. Also, M Braverman was hired on *last* year's cycle (if not earlier), i.e. 08-09 hiring season.

    No. Read his webpage; graduated 2008, postdoc for two years at MS New England, then hired at Toronto in starting in 2010.


    He was offered the position *before* he went on to do a PDF. He just deferred the position.

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  23. Then who did microsoft research hire? Thought that was VV.

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  24. Wouldn't include Microsoft Research, Technion, Tel Aviv in the list. The remaining 8 (MIT, Maryland, Columbia, Wisconsin, UPenn, UCSD, Caltech, Toronto) may seem reasonable, but it is not satisfactory when compared to the number of phd's and postdocs in the market. The system will eventually adjust itself (the incentive to get a phd in theory is decreasing), but during the adjustment some hearts will be broken.

    Too many phd students -> too many postdocs AND not so many tenure track positions -> too many broken hearts -> too many anonymous comments!

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  25. Why not include technion, tel aviv, or MSR?

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  26. Did MSR hire anyone?

    Did Tel aviv hire anyone?

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  27. Wouldn't include MSR for the same reason that Google, Yahoo, IBM, ... are not included. They are not tenure track positions in universities. Wouldn't include Technion, Tel Aviv for the same reason that other universities in Europe (or Asia, ...) are not included, i.e. they are not in North America.

    (Another reasons for not including Technion, Tel Aviv. Can't think of any tenure track non-Israeli theoretician in them.)

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  28. Where are the Simons postdocs this year?

    We have a two-year Simons Foundation postdoc position starting next fall at the University of Washington. Information about applying will be out before too long.

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  29. "(Another reasons for not including Technion, Tel Aviv. Can't think of any tenure track non-Israeli theoretician in them.)"

    Ronitt R is non-israeli as is Julia Kempe.

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  30. this is indeed a period post..

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  31. MSR hired Nikhil Devanur.

    MSR isn't a university, true, but they are spectacularly funded and have better theory groups than most (every?) university, so they are a special case, not like Yahoo or Google.

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  32. Who did UPenn hire?
    I thought the position is still unfilled.

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  33. This is an international blog. Computational complexity is studied all over the world. I don't see any reason to include only North American universities here. I also don't see a substantial advantage on average in the level of complexity research done in North American universities in comparison to other institutions throughout the world, be it Europe, Asia or Middle East.

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  34. Princeton is also hiring in theory this year.

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  35. re the international blog, I think the point was that the discussion is about looking for jobs, and if universities in say israel or india would only hire people of their own citizenship (either officially or unofficially), then most people on this "international" blog would not be eligible to apply.

    I don't think the intention was to say that such jobs aren't good ones, just that for the majority of readers, they do not present opportunities.

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  36. I don't think there is any hesitancy on the part of Israeli universities on hiring non Israelis. I think its hard for them to get foreign applicants. This is too bad, since the theory groups at these places are comparable to the top schools in the US.

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  37. I never saw an ad from an israeli university on CRA, for example. If they want foreign applicants, why don't they advertize to attract them?

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  38. ``I never saw an ad from an israeli university on CRA, for example"

    Haifa university posted an opening in theorynet.

    One problem is that undergrad courses are often taught in hebrew, thus any non-Israelis would not be able to teach these courses.

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  39. That would be good for the non-israelis .. not to teach undergrads. But it could also result in them not being hired ...

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  40. To be honest, the situation with Israeli universities seems to go both ways: they typically are not crazy about hiring non-Israelis, and non-Israelis are not crazy about moving to Israel. The reason for not wanting to hire non-Israelis is particularly mundane: there are so many good Israeli TCS people that they are forced to go look for jobs outside of Israel. Thus, typically, there is a huge pool of great Israeli researchers just waiting to "come back". In such a situation, it would seem like a bizzare decision, to say the least, to hire a non-Israeli.

    The two exceptions discussed, R. Rubinfeld and Julia Kempe, are exceptions that prove the rule: they are both spouses of Israeli faculty members that are in the same university. (Knowing this blog, I should clarify that there is no claim of foul play: both of these researchers are just as good, maybe even better, than the typical for that university; it's just that the fact their spouses are Israeli excludes them from being good examples of non-Israelis at an Israeli university)

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  41. "there are so many good Israeli TCS people that they are forced to go look for jobs outside of Israel. Thus, typically, there is a huge pool of great Israeli researchers just waiting to "come back". In such a situation, it would seem like a bizzare decision, to say the least, to hire a non-Israeli."

    As if that argument doesn't hold for the US. What's good for the goose ain't good for the gander.

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  42. The only really open country in Europe/Middle East in terms of hiring foreign faculty is UK, which has tons of foreigners, just like the US. Also, maybe Switzerland has some foreigners, but they are often from France, Germany and Belgium, i.e. countries with a common language. There are, of course, some exceptions, but usually these are spouses of someone of the nationality of the country or someone who at least got their PhD in that country.

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  43. Theoretical Computer Science has always been an international enterprise. There are American theoreticians in many countries, in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia, and, of course there are non-American faculty members in the US.

    I know of American theoreticians having tenure-track and tenured positions in the UK, Israel, Italy, Denmark, Hong Kong, Taiwan off the top of my head. Singapore, New Zealand, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, even Brazil advertised open positions. There are American postdocs in France, Germany, China, Italy, etc.

    Anybody claiming that "not teaching undergraduates" is a good thing, should not apply to a faculty job.

    It is possible for Americans to get a job in many foreign universities. In some places (Denmark, Holland, etc.) some universities offer many undergraduate courses in English. Many universities will allow a period of several years during which the faculty member can teach in English, with the expectation that she will learn the language of the country during this period.
    This is not a big deal--think of the number of non-native English speakers at a typical CS department in the US....

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  44. Moving to a foreign country (with an unfamiliar language and small number of non-natives speakers) for the rest of your work life (tenure track position) is different from doing a postdoc or phd. It is also important that there are reasonable number of researchers working in similar areas in close proximity.

    Other countries should follow Israeli model (Weizmann, huji, Technion, ... ) in establishing theory hubs. It can have a dramatic effect on the theory job market, specially if China and India become more active in establishing such centers, they have the resources and they have the need. Tsinghua seems to be moving in the right direction, but it will take time.

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  45. There are many more foreign researchers in the US than American researchers abroad. Sometimes this is for language reasons. The international contingent in the UK is not a coincidence, with English the international language of science. The UK may be changing, as well. Many countries, though, have explicit discrimination policies, if not at the university level then at the level of research funding agencies. There are also unofficial discrimination policies.

    "It would seem like a bizzare decision, to say the least, to hire a non-Israeli." That discrimination is natural and anything else is bizarre is the standard attitude in most countries.

    It is to the US's benefit to attract the best researchers from around the world. However, since this is usually a one-way street, this strongly discourages Americans from earning PhDs and trying to enter academia.

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  46. Americans still get advantages in the job search in the US, by virtue of being native, unaccented English speakers. This makes it much easier to give a good job talk.

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  47. Given that the talk is usually being heard/judged by a large percentage of non-native speakers, I don't think this is true.

    Also, sometimes people who are non-native speakers of English have an easier time understanding other non-native speakers, since they tend to speak slower, use simpler sentence structure, etc.

    Additionally, there are so many places where Americans are not only the minority, but there are top grad schools with only one or two Americans in a particular field (in the grad student population and among the faculty). So being an American can make one feel very out of place sometimes, even in one's own country. There are many theory faculties that have more people from India than they have Americans, for example.

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  48. I actually think 11:01 anon has it backwards. If a non-native speaker says something silly, people will think, did he really mean that, or is it just that English is his second language? Whereas if you are American and you say something silly during a talk, it can not be blamed on your language abilities.

    Also, as an American, I think Americans are biased towards other types of accents: i.e. we automatically think that people with British sounding accents are smart, and that goes for other accents too.

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  49. I think that USA is the most immigrant friendly country in this whole big world.
    No country can accept immigrants with open arms.
    I do not see why people like to bash America on this blog.
    If there is some bias towards native English speakers, then I think that there is nothing wrong with that. It is we who are coming to this country and taking the jobs. We can definitely bend over backwards for this.
    I am from India. I like everything about America other than its stupid politicians and people from Southern states.
    Please donot criticize this great and friendly country.

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  50. Last anon, Canada is way better in accepting immigrants than US.

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  51. Percentage wise?

    i.e. does Canada actually have more immigrants than the US? Or are they more friendly to the (fewer numbers of) immigrants they do get?

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  52. I checked it, percentage wise, only Australia is above Canda (more than 21 percent immigrants, not including their children born in Canada), one in eight Canadian has dual citizenship.

    And based on my own experience and experience of some friends I have talked with, Canadians are way friendlier than American's to immigrants.

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  53. a small correction about the percentage of immigrants: Canada 17 percent, Australia 21 percent

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  54. Another correction: the number were from 2002 (http://www.cbc.ca/news/becomingcanadian/overview.html), I guess they have increased considerably during last 8 years.

    From wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_to_Canada): Approximately 41% of people currently living in Canada are first or second generation immigrants.

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  55. The Math of Networks & Communications Research Dept. at Bell Labs, in Murray Hill,
    NJ is likely to be looking for candidates for the position of member of technical staff.
    Potential candidates are required to have a PhD in Computer Science / Math / EE
    / OR or related fields with 1) demonstrated strength in theory and 2) evident interest in networks and systems. Interested candidates may send a cover note and a current resumes to iis at research.bell-labs.com with "Position
    at Bell Labs" in the subject line.

    Iraj Saniee

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  56. I don't view a "second generation immigrant" to be an immigrant. If the person was born in the US or born with US citizenship, they are not an immigrant.

    Also, what is Canada's policy towards citizenship? If you are in Canada (even to illegal immigrant parents), are you still a citizen?

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  57. I meant, if you are born in Canada ...

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  58. If you look at job ads for most Canadian universities (Waterloo, McGill, etc) they explicitly state that they will give preference to Canadian citizens. I've never seen such a things stated in a job ad for a US university.

    I don't think that makes Canada more friendly in terms of employing foreigners.

    Also, note that many foreigners in the US (such as PhD students) are specifically designated NOT to be immigrants. They have to claim (for their Visa) that they do not intend to stay in the US after their studies even if that is not the case. Thus, these people would not be counted in a tally of "immigrants".

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  59. > I don't view a "second generation immigrant" to be an immigrant. If the person was born in the US or born with US citizenship, they are not an immigrant.

    What is important is not if they count them as immigrants or not (of course they are not counted as immigrants), what is important is how they are treated. If you have lived in US you know what I mean.

    > Also, what is Canada's policy towards citizenship? If you are in Canada (even to illegal immigrant parents), are you still a citizen?

    I haven't checked but I guess the answer is positive.

    >If you look at job ads for most Canadian universities (Waterloo, McGill, etc) they explicitly state that they will give preference to Canadian citizens. I've never seen such a things stated in a job ad for a US university.
    > I don't think that makes Canada more friendly in terms of employing foreigners.

    This is similar to the statements that women are given preference, i.e. if the applicants have similar quality those with Canadian citizenship are preferred.(universities in Quebec like McGill might be different from the rest, check the wiki if you don't know why.)
    Getting a permanent resident status is way easier than US.

    Foreign students are not counted as immigrants, they have a temporary resident status, though getting a permanent resident status is not very difficult.

    Generally, Canada has a very strong policy against any kind of discrimination (including xenophobia). In a country where almost half of the population are immigrants or their children, it is hard for groups like tea-party and racists to become and remain the main topic of political discussions. There are still influential political groups in US that cannot even tolerate a black president. If you had any experience of living in both of them, you would understand how ridiculous it is to argue that immigrants are treated better in US than in Canada.

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  60. I am from India. I like everything about America other than its stupid politicians and people from Southern states.

    Wow. Do you have any idea how incredibly evil that sounds?

    You're probably just trolling, but maybe some good will come out of this. Maybe I will give the talk at FOCS in my deepest possible Southern drawl, just to annoy you, and entertain everyone else.

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  61. Sorry Ryan.
    But you are a good Southerner.
    Most of the other people from Alabama are really stupid.

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  62. The discussion about Canada vs. the US regarding immigrants is a bit pointless since most non-Canadians more or less view Canada as part of the US.

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