Thursday, February 15, 2024


An academic field often organizes itself pulling ideas from its own field. For example, students on the economics faculty job search can signal at most two schools, without giving any other rules on how the signals should be used, allowing equilibrium behavior to rule.

In computer science, our field is decentralized without any single organization setting policies or much coordination. We're very data oriented, so we do a good job like with the Taulbee Survey. And because we're a field based on programming and logic, we tend to outsource decision to specific rules, formulas for ranking departments, judging faculty productivity (h-index, major conference publications, course evaluations) and graduation requirements.

Computing itself has changed over the last decade with the growth of artificial intelligence and learning from data. We see many examples when computers trained on data often dramatically out-perform those built on logic, certainly in say machine translation, facial recognition and spam detection for example.

Will the changes in computing change the way we think about how we run our field? Probably, but over a long period of time. People don't change their ways, but eventually the people change.

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