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[Computational Complexity] CRA Snowbird Part I

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  • Lance
    I just returned home from my first trip to the CRA Snowbird Conference, the biannual meeting of CS chairs and other leaders in the CS community. I really
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 22, 2010
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      I just returned home from my first trip to the CRA Snowbird
      Conference, the biannual meeting of CS chairs and other leaders in
      the CS community. I really enjoyed the short meeting and saw many old
      friends who are now chairs, some people I've only known by email and
      many I've talked to for the first time. There are a few theorists who
      have become chairs and deans, and, in the case of Jeff Vitter, provost
      at Kansas. Unlike theory conferences where I am usually one of the old
      people, most CS chairs are just about my age.

      I, as I had to remind most people I met, am not a chair. I
      attended as a speaker on the Peer Review in Computing Research panel
      giving my usual spiel on how the current publication culture hurts the
      community-building aspects of conferences. Jeannette Wing made a great
      argument of how our deadline-driven research and conservative program
      committees may lead our field to lose its "vibrancy, excitement and

      A number of people talked about the big projects they work on which
      make me almost rethink having gone into theory. Almost. The need
      for better algorithms shows up in many of these talks. Yoky Matsuoka
      from U. Washington talked about the artificial hand her group
      developed that has the full range of motions of a human hand but they
      lack the algorithms to have the hand do even some simple natural tasks. Illah
      Nourbakhsh from CMU talked about building electric cars and his ideas
      of using a supercapacitor as an energy cache for batteries so the batteries
      become smaller and cheaper but hits challenging cache optimizing
      issues. The group is running a contest, best algorithm
      wins an electric car. 

      Sally Fincher from the University of Kent gave a surprisingly strong
      talk Why Can't Teaching Be More Like Research? We get judged by
      our research based on how we compare to the global community but
      teaching is much more local and Sally talked about the implications
      of this distinction.

      Most disappointing was the discussion on the NRC Rankings. Charlotte
      Kuh who served on the NRC committee putting together the
      "soon" to be released report, said it will not give a
      specific ranking of each department but rather a range, like
      University of Southern North Dakota is ranked between 8th
      and 36th. And not just one range but five ranges based on different
      weights of the various criteria. And you can create other rankings
      based on your choice of weights. All based on 2005-6 data. And they
      used citation data from the ISI which doesn't include most CS
      conferences. The CRA board talked them out of that but now the CS data
      and rankings will use no citation information at all. But even outside
      of CS, with multiple ranking ranges and old data, the NRC report will
      be of little value.

      Posted By Lance to Computational Complexity at 7/22/2010 07:44:00 AM
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