## My New Years’ resolution: to get a real job

Get a leg up on the competition, and offer me a tenure-track position in computer science right now! Here’s everything you’ll need to decide:

In your offer letter, make sure to specify starting salary, teaching load, and the number of dimensions you’d like spacetime to have.

(Note to Luboš: Unfortunately, I wasn’t planning to apply to the Harvard physics department this year. But if you make a really convincing pitch, I might just be persuaded…)

### 14 Responses to “My New Years’ resolution: to get a real job”

1. agm Says:

2. Cheshire Cat Says:

The RS is a great read. However, the Dawkins-based conjecture seems to be saying something like “any optimization algorithm can be simulated efficiently by a local search heuristic”. Sounds highly dubious to me…

Oracles lie. Not as often as they tell the truth, but close enough.

3. Scott Says:

Cheshire Cat: Yes, I purposefully tried to come up with a conjecture so strong that it might even be false! But can you think of a counterexample? I couldn’t…

(Of course, the conjecture would be stated in such a way that exhaustive search, pruning, branch-and-bound, etc. would not be counterexamples.)

4. Cheshire Cat Says:

I think it would be more of a problem if the conjecture were true for a trivial reason. It’s a reasonable hypothesis that PLS-complete problems take time 2^{\Omega(n)}, and outputting the “evolutionary sequence” could be done in time 2^{O(n)} just by exhaustive search, so the running times are polynomially related. But this is misleading – the optimal algorithm for the problem might not bear any real relation to the algorithm outputting the evolutionary sequence.

I think a good conjecture (even if it were false) would exclude such an eventuality.

5. Scott Says:

The key point is that the algorithm should be outputting an evolutionary history as it goes along — i.e., that it shouldn’t take more than ~T*poly(n) steps to output the Tth element of the sequence. Exhaustive search doesn’t satisfy that property. Sorry if I didn’t explain that more clearly.

6. Yarden Katz Says:

Can’t offer you a job, unfortunately, but a big *amen* to your teaching statement. If enough profs followed this, I would have majored in Comp Sci. Sadly, it seems that these are slender minority views in most places.

7. Mark Says:

Scott, how much longer will you be at Waterloo? Please teach another graduate course before you leave =)

8. Scott Says:

Scott, how much longer will you be at Waterloo?

Dunno — at least till the summer! Unfortunately, I’ll be away for too much of the spring semester to teach a course this term.

Scott, your honest and courageous trial of applying so unconventionally is really a wonderful fuel for better working ethics and standards. Hope it is properly taken by your prospective employers.

10. Scott Says:

Nagesh, if you keep writing comments like that, people are going to suspect you’re me under a pseudonym. 🙂

Oh:) I feel nice about your response on my comment! I believe you are not serious about the suspicion part:)

12. Not even Right Says:

If you won’t apply to Harvard, you can try Columbia.

13. Scott Says:

I would apply to the computer science departments at both Harvard and Columbia, but apparently neither of them are doing a search this year.

14. Anonymous Says:

Hi,

You may find the following advert interesting:

http://web.comlab.ox.ac.uk/oucl/jobs/ulqcs.html