Obviously, there are tons of sessions everyday at JSM this week and it’s physically impossible to go to everything that looks interesting. Alas, I am but one man, so choices had to be made. Here’s what looks good to me from the JSM program:
Lots of other good stuff out there, of course. I wouldn’t mind hearing some feedback on how these go.
Recently, I’ve seen a few blog posts/articles about professors leaving academia for industry or some other non-academic position. By my last count I think I’ve seen three from computer science professors leaving academia for Google. The most recent one being from Terran Lane at University of New Mexico. At this point, Google should just start a recruiting office in middle of all the CS departments around the country. I think they’d get some good people.
Each of the “fairwell” blog posts cover many of the same points—difficulty with having an impact, increasing specialization of academic research, difficult funding climate, increasing workloads—and, frankly, all of this is true to varying degrees. Beki Grinter has already written a pretty good response. One topic, massive open online courses (MOOCs), is something on which I’ll comment at a later date. For now, I thought I would add a few of my thoughts.
Ultimately, I don’t want the many grad students out there who may be considering a career in academia to feel discouraged by what they might be reading on the Internets these days. There’s good and bad with every job, but I think with academia the balance is fairly positive, and you get to hang out with cool people.
Of course, if you’re in computer science, you should just go to Google like everyone else.
Mark Hansen, a Professor at UCLA’s Departments of Statistics and Media Arts, has been appointed as the inaugural Director of the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation. The Institute is a joint venture between Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Stanford’s School of Engineering.
The Institute and the collaboration between the two schools is groundbreaking in that it is designed to encourage and support new endeavors with the potential to inform and entertain in transformative ways. It will recognize the increasingly important connection between journalism and technology, bringing the best from the East and West Coasts.
Congratulations to Mark for this fantastic opportunity!
If only because I won’t be there this year and I need to know what’s going on! Where’s the action?
A recent lunchtime discussion here at Hopkins brought up the somewhat-controversial topic of abstract thinking in our graduate program. We, like a lot of other biostatistics/statistics programs, require our students to take measure theoretic probability as part of the curriculum. The discussion started as a conversation about whether we should require measure theoretic probability for our students. It evolved into a discussion of the value of abstract thinking (and whether measure theoretic probability was a good tool to measure abstract thinking).
Brian Caffo and I decided an interesting idea would be a point-counterpoint with the prompt, “How important is abstract thinking for the education of statistics graduate students?” Next week Brian and I will provide a point-counterpoint response based on our discussion.
In the meantime we’d love to hear your opinions!