University Economics and the End of Large Classes

I’ve been stalled on a draft of this piece for some time, but Amy Bruckman’s recent post provided the catalyst I needed to finish it up. She hypothesizes that “the future of universities is excelling at everything a MOOC is not.” Clearly universities can excel at activities that require students to be near each other and […]

Economics of University Teaching

Today I wanted to ask a simple, specific question: How does my salary relate to the amount of teaching that I do? Let’s take a look: I’m paid $105,000 per year, so with benefits I probably cost $150,000. Sabbaticals increase my cost by about 13%. An in-state student will pay $6500 in tuition for 26 credit hours of […]

What’s Operating Systems Research About?

The other day at lunch I tried to explain to Suresh what operating systems research is all about, which got me thinking about this subject. As a quick glace at the OSDI 2012 program will confirm, the obvious answer “it’s about building operating systems” no longer applies, if it ever did. In fact, the trend away from […]

The Citation Telephone Game

My kids often come home from school spouting crazy “facts” they’ve learned from classmates. It seems fundamentally human to repeat stories and, in the repeating, alter them—often unintentionally. Researchers do the same thing, and just this morning I was irritated to read an entirely inaccurate citation of one of my own papers. No doubt others […]

The PhD Grind, and Why Research Isn’t Like Sex

Phil Guo’s short online book, The PhD Grind, is the best description of the modern PhD experience in CS that I know of. People working on, or thinking about working on, a PhD in CS should read it. In this post I just want to comment on a few things. Phil vividly describes the sinking feeling that […]

PLDI in Beijing

[nggallery id=53] PLDI 2012 was in Beijing earlier this week. Unfortunately I had only one full day to be a tourist; it would have been nice to bail out of the conference for another half day to see more stuff but that didn’t end up happening. My student Yang Chen went to college in Beijing and […]

Academic Bug-Finding Projects in the Long Run

A number of computer science researchers, including me, have made careers out of creating tools that automate, at least partially, the process of finding bugs in computer programs. Recent work like this can be found in almost any good systemsy conference proceedings such as SOSP, OSDI, ASPLOS, ICSE, or PLDI. Examples go back many years, […]