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[Computational Complexity] What Happened to the Indians?

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  • Lance
    I lamented to some Indian colleagues that we had no IIT applicants to the CS theory graduate program at Northwestern. Chicago and many other US institutions
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 23, 2008
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      I lamented to some Indian colleagues that we had no IIT applicants to the CS theory graduate program at Northwestern. Chicago and many other US institutions drew many of their best students from the Indian Institute of Technology campuses over the years.

      I suggested that Northwestern was not yet on the theory map, at least in India. Likely true, but in addition the number of IIT CS majors going to the US for Ph.D.s has dropped by about two-thirds over the last couple of years. The culprit: Large, mostly US, banks are hiring the top graduates at salaries extremely high by Indian standards to work in their India offices. We had seen a smaller drop earlier with the software industry hiring but the software doesn't pay nearly as well as the banking industry. The Hindu writes about this trend.

      I'm happy for India's success but worry about the impact on US science and CS theory in particular. You don't have to look far at the best theorists to see a large number of Indians, mostly IIT alumni. Imagine if most of them ended up as bankers in Mumbai. What a loss!

      Back in the US, where do we get our graduate students from now? The Israeli's have long since stopped coming here, now that they can get quality Ph.D.s in Israel. Most Europeans also stay in Europe. We've also seen a drop in Chinese applicants. The US needs to start developing new sources for foreign students, or maybe, just maybe, find a way to attract more Americans.

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      Posted By Lance to Computational Complexity at 4/23/2008 07:30:00 AM

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