Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Breaking at Dagstuhl

It's spring break at Georgia Tech and time to head to Germany for the Dagstuhl Seminar Computational Complexity of Discrete Problems. Lots of discussion on algebraic circuits, interactive coding, information complexity, pseudorandomness and much more.

This is a break for me, the ability to focus on complexity and research instead of hiring and administration. But even here, in rural Germany, one cannot completely escape the Internet and life back home.

Back in the states I'm hearing of the difficulty for theory students to find postdoc positions. Here I'm hearing of the difficulty of well-funded theory faculty in Europe finding postdocs. Not so bad to spend time on this side of the pond. Some of the positions are listed in the comments of the fall jobs post

Want to organize your own Dagstuhl workshop? Proposals due by April 15. The Dagstuhl staff do an excellent job with most of the organizing, basically you just need to choose participants and talks.

The Dagstuhl library puts out the books authored by conference attendees and ask that authors sign those books. As this is the first Dagstuhl since The Golden Ticket appeared, I carried on the tradition.


  1. Meanwhile , in nearby Saarbrücken where I am studying, the Workshop in Algebraic Complexity Theory (WACT2014) is being held next week!

    Invited are many of the authors that have contributed to the recent amazing string of results which, based on arithmetic circuit depth reduction and measuring the dimension of spaces of shifted partial derivatives, have allowed us to reach a point where any non-constant improvement of either lower or upper bounds will lead to a separation of VP and VNP!

    Following these results and working in related subjects as they unfold has been fascinating and I am sure that for anyone who can make the trip (given the short notice), it will be worth your time.

  2. This may seem obvious: Could the postdoc-seekers in USA get jobs with the European profs who want them?

  3. Do you mean: would the visa regulations allow it? Or what do you mean exactly?

    1. My question is non-rhetorical.So to rephrase: What issues are preventing this?
      You point out one that may be an issue: Visa's.
      Are there others? Mismatch of interests? Americans don't want to live in Europe? People not knowing this is an option (as such Lances post may help)? But this is just speculation- I want to know what the problems are and can they be solved and should they be solved or are they Sigma_3^p-complete.

    2. Unfortunately, the postdoc-seekers Lance is talking with are also probably planning to soon look for faculty jobs in the US. There is an understanding, I believe, that most of the European postdoc positions would not help in finding a job in the US as much as a postdoc position in a US theory-heavy school or research lab.

      Therefore, I suspect that when complaining to Lance about the lack of postdocs, they don't really mean that they could not find any postdoc position *in principle*.

      For full disclosure: I think this thinking is mostly flawed. One should go for a postdoc with whoever they can work with best, regardless of location or affiliation (after all, being a postdoc is a very fun time in a researcher's life). But one cannot deny that universities do still look at where job seekers have done their postdocs.

  4. Interesting to see that I still manage to recognize a few old friends in the picture, my coauthors Harry and Thomas, then Rüdiger, Anna, of course Lance, Peter BM... some other faces are familiar but I am not anymore able to extract the name from my rusty neural network. And so many faces are new to me; that is very good...!