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jerryking : phds   45

Renowned microbiologist Frank Plummer helped fight AIDS and SARS - The Globe and Mail
His list of honours and awards take up more than a full page of his CV, in single-spaced, 11-point font. Among them: the prestigious Canada Gairdner Wightman Award in 2016, the Killam Prize in 2014 and his appointment as an officer of the Order of Canada in 2006.

When asked to describe him, his fellow scientists frequently used the word “brilliant” and referred to his “out-of-the-box” thinking.

Dr. Ronald, for example, said the two first met when Dr. Plummer was completing his medical studies at the University of Manitoba. “He was brilliant and he quickly mastered complex molecular biology that was beyond me,” Dr. Ronald wrote in an e-mail.

Larry Gelmon, his friend and colleague based in Nairobi, said he possessed a creative mind, finding new ways of conducting research and raising questions no one else had asked.
AIDS  biologists  Kenya  molecular_biology  obituaries  out-of-the-box  PhDs  questions  SARS 
8 weeks ago by jerryking
Innovation diary: MIT professors keep the ideas flowing | Financial Times
John Thornhill

“But it is my duty to make something that solves an important problem,” he says. “It is all about the problem.”

Founded in 1861, MIT is one of the world’s leading research centres, with a reputation for “learning by doing”. It is affiliated with 95 Nobel Prize-winners.

Professor Kripa Varanasi, the co-founder of LiquiGlide, has developed a “solid liquid” that enables every last drop of ketchup to slide smoothly out of the bottle on to your fries........ between 5 % and 25 % of various consumer products are left in the bottle, with lotions being a particularly irritating, and expensive, problem for consumers.......LiquiGlide’s technology can also be usefully applied to all kinds of other surfaces, from paint tins to bread-making machinery to catheters. Intriguingly it can also be “inverted” to counter the hydrophobic surfaces of many plants, increasing the absorption rates of chemicals. “Only 2 per cent of what is sprayed sticks to the plants,”........the newly launched Schwarzman College of Computing, a project with $1.1bn in funding that counts the head of the Blackstone Group among its backers. The college has three main aims: to advance computer research; to infuse knowledge of artificial intelligence across all the university’s schools; and to focus on the social impact and ethical responsibilities of computing.

That seems like an urgent priority as we grapple with the malign effects of algorithmic discrimination and facial recognition technologies. “We have to think about all these ethical issues at the design stage,” ........Winston Churchill asserted that no technical knowledge could outweigh the knowledge of the humanities in which philosophy and history walked hand in hand. “Human beings are not structures that are built or machines that are forged. They are plants that grow and must be tended as such.”
artificial_intelligence  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  fluidity  human_factor  humanities  ideas  innovation  MIT  patents  PhDs  scholars  start_ups  Winston_Churchill  worthwhile_problems 
9 weeks ago by jerryking
Colin Palmer, Historian of the African Diaspora, Is Dead at 75 - The New York Times
July 11, 2019 | The New York Times | By Neil Genzlinger.

Colin A. Palmer, a historian who broadened the understanding of the African diaspora, showing that the American slave trade was only one part of a phenomenon that spanned centuries and influenced cultures worldwide, died on June 20 in Kingston, Jamaica. He was 75.....Professor Palmer published his first of many books in 1976.....it was called “Slaves of the White God: Blacks in Mexico, 1570-1650,” chronicling a period when the colonies that would become the United States were still in their formative stages. The book set him on a career-long path.....Palmer definitely brought about a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the African diaspora, one that extended well beyond African-American history or the history of the slave trade,” ....Palmer did more than just show that the African diaspora was not a single event; he examined the various strands of it for differences and similarities.....any examination of diaspora began with a study of Africa itself.....Palmer also wrote well-regarded articles and books on the Caribbean countries, including “Eric Williams and the Making of the Modern Caribbean” (2006), about the historian and politician who led Trinidad and Tobago to independence.....Palmer's research showed that the Spaniards had brought in black slaves to Mexico as early as the 1520s.....Palmer identified five streams of African diaspora, the first being the initial spread of humans from Africa in prehistory....There were two other “premodern” streams, as he called them. One involved the movement of Bantu-speaking peoples out of the areas now known as Nigeria and Cameroon to other parts of Africa and India in about 3000 B.C. The other was related to trading in the fifth century B.C.

The Atlantic slave trade, which he said began in earnest in the 15th century, was the fourth stream; the fifth began after slavery’s demise and continues today.
Africa  Afro-Latinos  Caribbean  Diaspora  historians  history  Mexico  obituaries  PhDs  scholars  slavery  UWI 
july 2019 by jerryking
Martin Kilson, Scholar and Racial Pathbreaker at Harvard, Dies at 88
April 30, 2019 | The New York Times | By Richard Sandomir.

Martin Kilson, a leftist scholar, fierce debater and follower of W. E. B. Du Bois who became the first tenured African-American professor at Harvard, died on April 24 in Lincoln, Mass. He was 88.....Professor Kilson was a prolific writer, an expert on ethnic politics in Africa and the United States, and a mentor to generations of students, among them the writer, teacher and philosopher Cornel West......Professor Kilson, an avowed integrationist, was already teaching courses in African politics in the 1960s when black students were starting to assert themselves on predominantly white campuses like Harvard.......Professor Kilson was a faculty sponsor of the Harvard-Radcliffe Association of African and Afro-American Students. But after the university’s Afro-American studies department was established in 1969, he became disenchanted with its governance, criticizing it as lacking academic rigor and maintaining that it had become an enclave for radical black students.

“Black solidarity forces are distinctly anti-intellectual and anti-achievement in orientation,” he wrote in a provocative essay about Harvard in The New York Times Magazine in 1973. “They indulge in the ‘black magic’ of nationalism, believing that miracles are possible if Negroes display fidelity to black nationalism or separatism and its anti-white attitudes, rituals and symbols.”....Kilson argued that the radical politics of separatists was an academic dead end.....“It took extraordinary courage in 1969 to challenge Black Panther and black power rhetoric,” the Rev. Eugene Rivers III, a former student of Professor Kilson’s, said in a telephone interview. “And he was right.”......Professor Kilson encountered Du Bois, the pioneering urban sociologist who was a founder of the N.A.A.C.P., as a freshman at Lincoln University, a HBCU....Du Bois remained an influence throughout Professor Kilson’s career....Harvard hired him as a lecturer in government in 1962. He was named an assistant professor two years later and granted tenure in 1968.

“He took a lot of pride in that accomplishment,” his daughter Hannah Kilson said in a telephone interview....Kilson used that sharp pen in 2002 when he challenged Randall L. Kennedy, a distinguished African-American professor at Harvard Law School, over the title of Professor Kennedy’s book “Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word.”
academic_rigor  African-Americans  Black_Panthers  black_nationalism  black_power  black_separatism  black_studies  Cornel_West  Eugene_Rivers  Harvard  Henry_Louis_Gates  integration  left-wing  obituaries  PhDs  scholars  trailblazers  W.E.B._Du_Bois  wishful_thinking 
may 2019 by jerryking
20 Minutes With: Bridge International Academies’ Shannon May
Feb. 25, 2019 | Barron's | By Mitch Moxley.

Bridge International Academies, a private company May co-founded that transforms failing government schools into high performing ones. The results have been astounding. May, an Arizona native in her early 40s, oversees the education of more than a quarter of a million children every school day in six countries. On average, these schools charge just US$7 per month per child, and some graduates have gone to elite secondary schools in the U.S.

Bridge is backed by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, among others, and has raised over US$140 million.

What was the original goal when you launched Bridge?

The original goal, seriously, was to serve a million kids in more than 1,000 schools…. It’s a lot harder than we thought, but 10 years on, now we’re working with close to 300,000 kids every day in six different countries.
billgates  China  education  high-achieving  PhDs  teachers  teaching  scaling  schools  transformational 
february 2019 by jerryking
How a Businesswoman Became a Voice for Art’s Black Models - The New York Times
By Melissa Smith
Dec. 26, 2018

Curator Denise Murrell focused on the works of 19th century [ ] Édouard Manet....
Revealing that maid’s identity became the foundation of Ms. Murrell’s doctoral dissertation, and the driving force behind her exhibition “Posing Modernity: The Black Model From Manet and Matisse to Today,” currently on view at the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University.....“A person of color who is standing right there before you, and being ignored, is something that is part of the condition of being” part of the African diaspora to begin with. Art historians play a significant role in shaping our understanding of the past. It bothered her that their narratives would rewrite, subjugate or exclude the history of black people.......Ms. Murrell went on to reconsider Matisse’s use of black models in light of his trips to New York during the Harlem Renaissance, and circled back to the question that triggered her entanglement with art to begin with: How have contemporary black and nonblack artists reflected on these black figures in their work? “You can’t really understand African-American art and visual culture and artistic production without understanding a lot of what it is reacting to,”......Scholarship around black representation is growing, though gaps remain. And museums are increasingly addressing the full range of their communities, and the needs of a public more attuned to issues of race — approving exhibitions, like Ms. Murrell’s, that probe what blackness really means in the context of art history.....When Ms. Murrell ran into roadblocks, she found funders and strong-armed institutions for loans. Ms. Murrell said that while curators, art historians, gallery owners and others in the art community are sincere when they talk about diversity, they are also reluctant to dismantle established norms, including those that work against people of color. Larger institutions want to play it safe, and often refrain from funding unconventional scholarship. “There’s the concern that if you talk about race or any other kind of marginalized subject, how broad is the interest going to be?” Ms. Murrell said. Leaning on a mentorship model borrowed from her time in the corporate world, Ms. Murrell said she wants to create an incubator for minorities with new ideas.
African-Americans  art  art_history  blackness  curators  exclusion  exhibitions  marginalization  PhDs  artists  playing_it_safe  visual_culture  race  women 
december 2018 by jerryking
Computer vision: how Israel’s secret soldiers drive its tech success
November 20, 2018 | Financial Times | Mehul Srivastava in Tel Aviv.
.... those experiences that have helped such a tiny country become a leader in one of the most promising frontiers in the technology world: computer vision. Despite the unwieldy name it is an area that has come of age in the past few years, covering applications across dozens of industries that have one thing in common: the need for computers to figure out what their cameras are seeing, and for those computers to tell them what to do next.........Computer vision has become the connecting thread between some of Israel’s most valuable and promising tech companies. And unlike Israel’s traditional strengths— cyber security and mapping — computer vision slides into a broad range of different civilian industries, spawning companies in agriculture, medicine, sports, self-driving cars, the diamond industry and even shopping. 

In Israel, this lucrative field has benefited from a large pool of engineers and entrepreneurs trained for that very task in an elite, little-known group in the military — Unit 9900 — where they fine-tuned computer algorithms to digest millions of surveillance photos and sift out actionable intelligence. .........The full name for Unit 9900 — the Terrain Analysis, Accurate Mapping, Visual Collection and Interpretation Agency — hints at how it has created a critical mass of engineers indispensable for the future of this industry. The secretive unit has only recently allowed limited discussion of its work. But with an estimated 25,000 graduates, it has created a deep pool of talent that the tech sector has snapped up. 

Soldiers in Unit 9900 are assigned to strip out nuggets of intelligence from the images provided by Israel’s drones and satellites — from surveilling the crowded, chaotic streets of the Gaza Strip to the unending swaths of desert in Syria and the Sinai. 

With so much data to pour over, Unit 9900 came up with solutions, including recruiting Israelis on the autistic spectrum for their analytical and visual skills. In recent years, says Shir Agassi, who served in Unit 9900 for more than seven years, it learned to automate much of the process, teaching algorithms to spot nuances, slight variations in landscapes and how their targets moved and behaved.....“We had to take all these photos, all this film, all this geospatial evidence and break it down: how do you know what you’re seeing, what’s behind it, how will it impact your intelligence decisions?” .....“You’re asking yourself — if you were the enemy, where would you hide? Where are the tall buildings, where’s the element of surprise? Can you drive there, what will be the impact of weather on all this analysis?”

Computer vision was essential to this task....Teaching computers to look for variations allowed the unit to quickly scan thousands of kilometres of background to find actionable intelligence. “You have to find ways not just to make yourself more efficient, but also to find things that the regular eye can’t,” she says. “You need computer vision to answer these questions.”.....The development of massive databases — from close-ups of farm insects to medical scans to traffic data — has given Israeli companies a valuable headstart over rivals. And in an industry where every new image teaches the algorithm something useful, that has made catching up difficult.......“Computer vision is absolutely the thread that ties us to other Israeli companies,” he says. “I need people with the same unique DNA — smart PhDs in mathematics, neural network analysis — to tell a player in the NBA how to improve his jump shot.”
Israel  cyber_security  hackers  cyber_warfare  dual-use  Israeli  security_&_intelligence  IDF  computer_vision  machine_learning  Unit_9900  start_ups  gene_pool  imagery  algorithms  actionable_information  geospatial  mapping  internal_systems  PhDs  drones  satellites  surveillance  autism 
november 2018 by jerryking
Devah Pager, Who Documented Race Bias in Job Market, Dies at 46 - The New York Times
By Katharine Q. Seelye
Nov. 8, 2018

Devah Pager wrote in her book, “Marked: Race, Crime and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration.
PhDs  obituaries  professors  race  biases  racial_disparities  sociologists  racial_discrimination  joblessness  mass_incarceration 
november 2018 by jerryking
Sterling Stuckey, 86, Dies; Charted African Culture in Slavery - The New York Times
By Sam Roberts
Aug. 28, 2018

Sterling Stuckey, an eminent black historian who challenged his white colleagues by documenting how uprooted Africans not only retained their culture while they survived slavery but eventually suffused the rest of American society with their transplanted folkways, died on Aug. 15 in Riverside, Calif. He was 86.....He had recently finished the manuscript of his latest book, “The Chambers of the Soul: Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville and the Blues.”.....Through meticulous research, Professor Stuckey sought to discredit the white academics who had dominated and, in his view, devalued the field of African studies.

Early on he was bitterly critical of “numerous white experts on black Africa,” as he described them, who “have elaborated a fabric of untruths to rationalize continued white control over African studies.”.... his breakthrough essay, “Through the Prism of Folklore: The Black Ethos in Slavery,” published in 1968 by The Massachusetts Review, Professor Stuckey maintained that political and cultural studies of Africa must encompass people in North America and the West Indies.

...Professor Stuckey’s books included “Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black America” (1987) and “Going Through the Storm: The Influence of African American Art in History” (1994).
Africa  African-Americans  black_nationalism  books  Colleges_&_Universities  history  historians  obituaries  PhDs  scholars  slavery 
august 2018 by jerryking
The quant factories producing the fund managers of tomorrow
Jennifer Thompson in London JUNE 2, 2018

The wealth of nations and individuals is ever more likely to be influenced by computer algorithms as investors look to computer-powered quantitative trading strategies to generate returns. But underpinning those machines and algorithms are real people, namely the world’s sharpest mathematicians and data scientists.

Though not hard to identify, virtually every industry — and especially Big Tech — is competing with the financial world for their skills....Competition for talent means the campuses of elite universities have become a favoured hunting ground for many groups, and that the very best students and early career academics can command staggering starting salaries should they join the investment world......The links asset managers foster with universities vary. In the UK, Oxford and Cambridge are home to dedicated institutes established and funded by investment managers. Although these were set up with a genuine desire to foster research in the field, with a nod to philanthropy, they are also proving to be an effective way to spotting future talent.

Connections between hedge funds and investment managers are less formalised on US campuses but are treated with no less importance.

Personal relationships are important,
mathematics  data_scientists  quants  quantitative  hedge_funds  algorithms  war_for_talent  asset_management  PhDs  WorldQuant  Big_Tech 
june 2018 by jerryking
Former TDSB director guilty of plagiarizing his PhD, panel says - The Globe and Mail
CAROLINE ALPHONSO - EDUCATION REPORTER
The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Jun. 20, 2017

An independent disciplinary tribunal at the University of Toronto found that Chris Spence, the former director of the Toronto District School Board, knowingly lifted and dropped paragraphs and sentences into his 1996 thesis.

The panel on Tuesday recommended that his PhD be “cancelled and recalled.” It also recommended that the university expel Dr. Spence and a permanent notification be placed on his academic transcript.......In December, a discipline committee of the Ontario College of Teachers found him guilty of professional misconduct and his teaching certificate was revoked. This was the first time the college revoked a teaching certificate because of plagiarism.....
TDSB  plagiarism  Chris_Spence  uToronto  PhDs 
june 2017 by jerryking
Meet the People’s Quant, an Ex-Marine Who Champions Value Investing - WSJ
By Chris Dieterich
June 2, 2017

Wesley Gray’s value-focused fund of overseas stocks is beating all its rivals over the past year. For him, it’s almost beside the point.

Mr. Gray, chief executive of asset manager Alpha Architect LP outside of Philadelphia, says watching short-term market moves doesn’t pay off. Instead, his firm focuses on the benefits of finding and buying a small number of very cheap stocks, and holding them through thick and thin.

Alpha Architect is an upstart active investment manager that tripled its assets last year, a noteworthy performance at a time when traditional stock pickers are struggling with lackluster performance and investor withdrawals. The firm, with $522 million in assets, is among a growing crop of money managers using academic financial and behavioral research, and algorithms, to identify stock bets likely to beat the market.

So-called quantitative investment strategies pulled from academic research have been around for years, popularized by the likes of Dimensional Fund Advisors and AQR Capital Management. Mr. Gray and Alpha Architect aim to deliver highly potent iterations to smaller investors.

Mr. Gray is a former captain in the U.S. Marine Corps who served a tour in Iraq, and later earned a Ph.D. in finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He says extreme discipline is a crucial component of his concentrated, algorithmic adaptations of classic value investing, popularized by Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett.

Last year Mr. Gray put out a report, “Even God Would Get Fired as an Active Investor,” concluding that stock-picking foresight alone wouldn’t equip investors to conquer perhaps their most formidable foe: the fear-driven urge to cut losses.....the market is littered with winning strategies that lose their potency over time, and smart-sounding theories that fail outright when put into practice. Moreover, success in investing often leaves market-beating managers awash in fund inflows that quickly outstrip their capacity to generate ideas.

Mr. Gray responds that the research upon which his strategies are based have proved their resilience for years, and that they can be explained by investor behavior. He admits that he has considered the implications of getting too big, a state that he says isn’t imminent but could force unhappy changes on his firm.
alpha  investors  quants  USMC  PhDs  value_investing/investors  asset_management  algorithms  behavioural_economics  quantitative  idea_generation  finance  active_investing  stock_picking  investment_strategies  beat_the_market 
june 2017 by jerryking
Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Adviser to Jimmy Carter, Dies at 89
MAY 26, 2017 | The New York Times | By DANIEL LEWIS.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday. He was 89.

His death was announced on Friday by his daughter, Mika Brzezinski, a co-host of the MSNBC program “Morning Joe.”

Like his predecessor Henry A. Kissinger, Mr. Brzezinski was a foreign-born scholar (he in Poland, Mr. Kissinger in Germany) with considerable influence in global affairs, both before and long after his official tour of duty in the White House....
......In 2012 [Brzezinski] once again assessed the United States’ global standing in “Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power.” Here he argued that continued American strength abroad was vital to global stability, but that it would depend on the country’s ability to foster “social consensus and democratic stability” at home.

Essential to those goals, he wrote, would be a narrowing of the yawning income gap between the wealthiest and the rest, a restructuring of the financial system so that it no longer mainly benefited “greedy Wall Street speculators” and a meaningful response to climate change.......A United States in decline, he said — one “unwilling or unable to protect states it once considered, for national interest and/or doctrinal reasons, worthy of its engagement” — could lead to a “protracted phase of rather inconclusive and somewhat chaotic realignments of both global and regional power, with no grand winners and many more losers.”
Zbigniew_Brzezinski  financial_system  Jimmy_Carter  '70s  obituaries  security_&_intelligence  U.S.foreign_policy  PhDs  APNSA 
may 2017 by jerryking
Wall Street’s Endangered Species: The Ivy League Jock - WSJ
BY JUSTIN BAER

The industry started to shift away from athletes in the 1990s as derivatives grew in number and complexity. That necessitated a hiring spree for Ph.D.s who could understand and price them. More recently, the advent of electronic trading and quantitative investing called for many more recruits with math or computer-programming skills.
talent  athletes_&_athletics  Wall_Street  Ivy_League  quants  hiring  PhDs  trading  endangered 
may 2017 by jerryking
With 125 Ph.D.s in 15 Countries, a Quant ‘Alpha Factory’ Hunts for Investing Edge - WSJ
By BRADLEY HOPE
Updated April 6, 2017

The firm is part of the forefront of a new quantitative renaissance in investing, where the ability to make sense of billions of bits of data in real time is more sought after than old-school financial analysis.

“Brilliance is very equally distributed across the world, but opportunity is not,” said Mr. Tulchinsky, a 50-year-old Belarusian. “We provide the opportunity.”

To do this, WorldQuant developed a model where it employs hundreds of scientists, including 125 Ph.D.s, around the world and hundreds more part-time workers to scour the noise of the economy and markets for hidden patterns. This is the heart of the firm. Mr. Tulchinsky calls it the “Alpha Factory.”....Quantitative hedge funds have been around for decades but they are becoming dominant players in the markets for their ability to parse massive data sets and trade rapidly. Amid huge outflows, traditional hedge funds are bringing aboard chief data scientists and trying to mimic quant techniques to keep up, fund executives say.

Some critics of quants believe their strategies are overhyped and are highly susceptible to finding false patterns in the noise of data. David Leinweber, a data scientist, famously found that the data set with the highest correlation with the S&P 500 over a 10-year period in the 1990s was butter production in Bangladesh.
quantitative  Wall_Street  PhDs  alpha  investors  slight_edge  massive_data_sets  signals  noise  data_scientists  real-time  algorithms  patterns  sense-making  quants  unevenly_distributed  WorldQuant 
april 2017 by jerryking
Why this economist thinks government intervention is a good thing - The Globe and Mail
PAUL WALDIE
The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Nov. 28, 2016

Many governments are moving away from austerity and toward stimulating economic growth by spending on infrastructure projects. Is that the right approach?

This is not about the panacea of infrastructure. It’s ridiculous if you think about it. All these smart, smart people in the IMF—once they finally admit that austerity was shit and it was very damaging, what’s their solution? Infrastructure. (3) These people have PhDs. Can they not come up with something more interesting than spend a bunch on bridges and roads?

What do you think about Brexit?

A massive, massive disaster. I just can’t believe that the people who engineered it haven’t been put in prison. It’s so obvious now that they were lying. Think of it: If Coca-Cola lied with advertising campaigns like that, they’d be in prison. All these civil servants are going to be spending decades unravelling something that was not the problem. The real problem in the U.K. is low productivity, very high inequality and a lack of serious planning around industrial and innovation policy. That had nothing to do with Europe. Brexit is just going to take away huge amounts of government resources that could have been spent thinking about what it really means to increase productivity. As well, it just really makes things complicated.
Paul_Waldie  economists  Brexit  industrial_policies  innovation_policies  innovation  iPhone  Mariana_Mazzucato  infrastructure  austerity  government_intervention  PhDs  IMF  productivity  income_inequality 
december 2016 by jerryking
Universities’ AI Talent Poached by Tech Giants - WSJ
By DANIELA HERNANDEZ and RACHAEL KING
Nov. 24, 2016

Researchers warn that tech companies are draining universities of the scientists responsible for cultivating the next generation of researchers and who contribute to solving pressing problems in fields ranging from astronomy to environmental science to physics.

The share of newly minted U.S. computer-science Ph.D.s taking industry jobs has risen to 57% from 38% over the last decade, according to data from the National Science Foundation. Though the number of Ph.D.s in the field has grown, the proportion staying in academia has hit “a historic low,” according to the Computing Research Association, an industry group.

Such moves could have a long-term impact on the number of graduates available for teaching positions because it takes three to five years to earn a doctorate in computer science. ....The squeeze is especially tight in deep learning, an AI technique that has played a crucial role in moneymaking services like online image search, language translation and ad placement,
Colleges_&_Universities  poaching  Alphabet  Google  Stanford  artificial_intelligence  Facebook  machine_learning  talent_pipelines  research  PhDs  deep_learning  war_for_talent  talent 
november 2016 by jerryking
Algorithms Aren’t Biased, But the People Who Write Them May Be - WSJ
By JO CRAVEN MCGINTY
Oct. 14, 2016

A provocative new book called “Weapons of Math Destruction” has inspired some charged headlines. “Math Is Racist,” one asserts. “ Math Is Biased Against Women and the Poor,” declares another.

But author Cathy O’Neil’s message is more subtle: Math isn’t biased. People are biased.

Dr. O’Neil, who received her Ph.D in mathematics from Harvard, is a former Wall Street quant who quit after the housing crash, joined the Occupy Wall Street movement and now publishes the mathbabe blog.
algorithms  mathematics  biases  books  Cathy_O’Neil  Wall_Street  PhDs  quants  Occupy_Wall_Street  Harvard  value_judgements 
october 2016 by jerryking
Powerful Thoughts From Paul Graham — Ross Hudgens
21. Empathy is probably the single most important difference between a good hacker and a great one. Some hackers are quite smart, but practically solipsists when it comes to empathy. It’s hard for such people to design great software, because they can’t see things from the user’s point of view.

25. In a field like physics, if we disagree with past generations it’s because we’re right and they’re wrong. But this becomes rapidly less true as you move away from the certainty of the hard sciences. By the time you get to social questions, many changes are just fashion.

34. Whatever the reason, there seems a clear correlation between intelligence and willingness to consider shocking ideas. This isn’t just because smart people actively work to find holes in conventional thinking. Conventions also have less hold over them to start with. You can see that in the way they dress.

43. E.B. White was amused to learn from a farmer friend that many electrified fences don’t have any current running through them. The cows apparently learn to stay away from them, and after that you don’t need the current. | If you’re a hacker who has thought of one day starting a startup, there are probably two things keeping you from doing it. One is that you don’t know anything about business. The other is that you’re afraid of competition. Neither of these fences have any current in them.

50. But since for most of the world’s history the main route to wealth was to steal it, we tend to be suspicious of rich people.

59. “A lot of the (people applying to be graduate students at MIT) seem smart,” he said. “What I can’t tell is whether they have any kind of taste.” Taste. You don’t hear that word much now. And yet we still need the underlying concept, whatever we call it. What my friend meant was that he wanted students who were not just good technicians, but who could use their technical knowledge to design beautiful things.

64. Good design resembles nature. It’s not so much that resembling nature is intrinsically good as that nature has had a long time to work on the problem. So it’s a good sign when your answer resembles nature’s.

70. You’re most likely to get good design if the intended users include the designer himself. When you design something for a group that doesn’t include you, it tends to be for people you consider less sophisticated than you, not more sophisticated. And looking down on the user, however benevolently, always seems to corrupt the designer. [Good design therefore requires personal risk? having skin in the game?]

76. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” – C.S. Lewis
biomimicry  business  inspiration  productivity  quotes  start_ups  Paul_Graham  Y_Combinator  via:hotchkiss  empathy  design  UX  hackers  personal_risk  PhDs  aesthetics  dangerous_ideas  smart_people  the_single_most_important 
november 2014 by jerryking
The Philadelphia Eagles' Secret Coaches: Professors - WSJ
Sept. 16, 2014 | WSJ | Kevin Clark.

Kelly, in his second NFL season after an impressive run at the University of Oregon, has made academics as much a part of the team as the long snapper. He leans on them all off-season for new ideas and has them on speed dial when he needs a quick fix, according to those who have interacted with the Eagles coach.

"Chip says, 'This guy, with his social sciences or psychology or statistical model or his understanding of African-American history, let's bring him in and see if there's even one idea or one sentence that is a piece of trying to get done what I'm trying to accomplish,' ...Kelly is so devoted to the idea that one of his top lieutenants told professors that Kelly's goal is to have a sort of academic conference, where Kelly is essentially the only beneficiary. (Imagine, if you'd like to laugh, a TED talk with Kelly as the only audience member.)...Ericsson then addressed the entire staff in a 90-minute session in which Kelly tried to get to the heart of the matter. Kelly wanted Ericsson to understand the basic training methods of the Eagles, then ask of the professor, "What could be done differently?"

Ericsson's answer is tied to another Kelly secret. The Eagles use memory devices to get players to memorize formations. Safety Malcolm Jenkins said that during meetings, coaches will show an opponent's formation on a screen, and players will attempt to remember it and yell the play call they would use against it. Then, Jenkins said, snapping his fingers, "They start to flash it quicker and quicker. There's less time to process. And so you build those same cognitive skills where it's the same as getting a mental rep on the field."

Ericsson thought this a noble effort, but in his opinion, it wasn't enough. He recommended that the situations be harder to understand—to go beyond the formations and "get them to respond to video clips of more complex scenarios instead of simple, fast recognitions," he said. "You want to encourage players to be more analytical and open them up to more feedback on what they aren't paying attention to."
academia  innovation  football  sports  NFL  memorization  think_differently  pattern_recognition  PhDs  overlooked  coaching  video_clips  pay_attention  visual_cues 
september 2014 by jerryking
Getting Started in ‘Big Data’ - The CFO Report - WSJ
February 4, 2014 | WSJ |by JAMES WILLHITE.

executives and recruiters, who compete for talent in the nascent specialty, point to hiring strategies that can get a big-data operation off the ground. They say they look for specific industry experience, poach from data-rich rivals, rely on interview questions that screen out weaker candidates and recommend starting with small projects.

David Ginsberg, chief data scientist at business-software maker SAP AG , said communication skills are critically important in the field, and that a key player on his big-data team is a “guy who can translate Ph.D. to English. Those are the hardest people to find.”

Along with the ability to explain their findings, data scientists need to have a proven record of being able to pluck useful information from data that often lack an obvious structure and may even come from a dubious source. This expertise doesn’t always cut across industry lines. A scientist with a keen knowledge of the entertainment industry, for example, won’t necessarily be able to transfer his skills to the fast-food market.

Some candidates can make the leap. Wolters Kluwer NV, a Netherlands-based information-services provider, has had some success in filling big-data jobs by recruiting from other, data-rich industries, such as financial services. “We have found tremendous success with going to alternative sources and looking at different businesses and saying, ‘What can you bring into our business?’ ” said Kevin Entricken, the company’s chief financial officer.
massive_data_sets  analytics  data_scientists  cross-industry  recruiting  howto  poaching  plain_English  connecting_the_dots  storytelling  SAP  Wolters_Kluwer  expertise  Communicating_&_Connecting  unstructured_data  war_for_talent  talent  PhDs  executive_search  artificial_intelligence  nontraditional 
june 2014 by jerryking
Paula Broadwell switched her PhD bid from Harvard to British college - News - Boston.com
By Callum Borchers, Tracy Jan and Bryan Bender
Globe Correspondent, Globe Staff / November 14, 2012
Harvard  KSG  Paula_Broadwell  scandals  PhDs 
november 2012 by jerryking
The Broadwell Recognition | Daniel W. Drezner
indecorous

the David Petraeus/Paula Broadwell story is the ultimate pundit Rorschach Test. Whatever axe one had to grind against the foreign policy community prior to the story breaking, Petraeus and Broadwell merely sharpens it. It’s evidence about the sexism and double-standards at play in Washington! It shows the insularity and kiss-assedness of the foreign policy community!! It shows that COIN doesn’t work, or that Petraeus was a big phony!!

....a lesson that can be drawn from this for those young, impressionistic aspirants to positions of foreign policy influence......do not, under any circumstances, think of a Ph.D. as merely a box to be checked on the way to power and influence in Washington....... Petraeus both benefited from and propagated the desire to develop "officer-intellectuals" within the military........West Point’s social science department, where Petraeus had taught in the mid-1980s. The department, known as “Sosh,” was founded just after World War II by a visionary ex-cadet and Rhodes Scholar named George A. “Abe” Lincoln. Toward the end of the war, as the senior planning aide to Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Marshall, Lincoln realized that the Army needed to breed a new type of officer to help the nation meet its new global responsibilities in the postwar era. This new officer, he wrote to a colleague, should have “at least three heads—one political, one economic, and one military.” He took a demotion, from brigadier general to colonel, so he could return to West Point and create a curriculum “to improve the so-called Army mind” in just this way: a social science department, encouraging critical thinking, even occasionally dissent.

Lincoln also set up a program allowing cadets with high scores in Sosh classes to go study at a civilian graduate school, with West Point paying the tuition. In exchange, the cadets, after earning their doctorates, would come back and teach for at least three years. Once they fulfilled that obligation, Lincoln would use his still-considerable connections in Washington to get them choice assignments in the Pentagon, the State Department, the White House, a foreign embassy, or a prestigious command post......some scholar-officers rate as being among the best that the military has to offer, and offer a necessary bridge between the scholarly and martial worlds. On the other hand, some of them are there precisely because they see the Ph.D. as a ticket to be punched on the way to something greater. And these are the ones who will usually flail about miserably.......Here's the thing about sub-par doctoral students: 95% of them will not earn a Ph.D. — and most of the rest who do get it will only have done so by finding the most pliant dissertation committee alive. Ambition and intelligence can get someone through college and a professional degree. It can even get someone through Ph.D.-level coursework. What it can’t do is produce an above-the-bar dissertation......For people who have succeeded at pretty much everything in life to that point, a Ph.D. seems like just another barrier to transcend. It’s not. Unless you are able to simultaneously love and critically dissect your subject matter, unless you thrive in an environment where people are looking forward to picking apart your most cherished ideas, you won’t finish......As someone who has advised readers on the relative merits of getting a Ph.D., it’s worth pointing out — repeatedly — that getting a Ph.D. is not for everyone. If there isn’t an idea or a question that truly animates you, if you think of a Ph.D. as merely a ticket to be punched, then know the following: you are looking at a half-decade of misery with nothing to show for it in the end except a terminal masters degree.
academia  Colleges_&_Universities  David_Petraeus  fast_track  high-achieving  invitation-only  KSG  leadership  leadership_development  lessons_learned  overambitious  Paula_Broadwell  PhDs  scandals  scholars  scholar-officers  West_Point 
november 2012 by jerryking
Jake Porway, Data Scientist Information, Facts, News, Photos -- National Geographic
Data scientist Jake Porway (Ph.D.) is a matchmaker. He sees social change organizations working to make the world a better place, collecting mountains of data, but lacking skills and resources to use that information to advance their mission. He sees data scientists with amazing skills and cutting-edge tools, eager to use their talent to accomplish something meaningful, yet cut off from channels that allow them to do so. He sees governments ready to make data open and available, but disconnected from people who need it. For Porway, it's a match waiting to happen and the reason he founded DataKind (formerly Data Without Borders). It connects nonprofits, NGOs and other data-rich social change organizations with data scientists willing to donate time and knowledge to solve social, environmental and community problems. Ultimately, he wants to build a globally connected network of dedicated experts who can be deployed at a moment's notice to tackle any big data science task worldwide
data_scientists  DataKind  data  match-making  haystacks  PhDs  open_data  nonprofit  NGOs  volunteering 
july 2012 by jerryking
School for quants
March 2, 2012 | FT.com | By Sam Knight

The Financial Computing Centre at UCL, a collaboration with the London School of Economics, the London Business School and 20 leading financial institutions, claims to be the only institute of its kind in Europe. Each year since its establishment in late 2008, between 600 and 800 students have applied for its 12 fully funded PhD places, which each cost the taxpayer £30,000 per year. Dozens more applicants come from the financial industry, where employers are willing to subsidise up to five years of research at the tantalising intersection of computers, data and money.
United_Kingdom  quantitative  Colleges_&_Universities  finance  quants  PhDs  LSE  collaboration 
march 2012 by jerryking
Mapping a New, Mobile Internet
February 26, 2009 | BusinessWeek | by Stephen Baker

Sense Networks, led by the 35-year-old Skibiski, is a mere gnat in this
market. It's a services shop powered by five PhDs and a slew of
algorithms. Phone companies and advertisers provide Sense with raw data
on people's movements and behavior. Sense's mission is to transform
mountains of data into intelligence: what individuals will be most
likely to buy, or where they'll be when a craving hits.
Stephen_Baker  Sense_Networks  mobile  wireless  marketing  mobile_phones  geolocation  mapping  applications  geo-tracking  algorithms  PhDs  location_based_services 
april 2009 by jerryking

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