[xquery-talk] XML/XQuery academic conferences ?

David Lee dlee at calldei.com
Thu Oct 13 03:50:45 PDT 2011

Daniela ...
I think your onto something.  I think I've seen a different sample set then
The industry's I've typically been in are not 'exciting' for a person who
has focused on PhD level topics,
they are more pragmatic industries (Healthcare, Manufacturing, Mobile,
Publishing, Advertising).   Where the jobs are more engineering oriented so
we didn't attract the theoretical types ...  I think the only PhD's we
attracted were people who stayed in school because they couldn't handle the
thought of actually getting a job but eventually (in the US at least) once
you get your PhD you either need to enter Academia as a profession or hit
the streets ... we wouldn't be the first choice for anyone who had high
goals of getting a research position.

Also as Mike points out (in a future email) I actually think the US and UK
are more similar then he thinks  in the regards as Academia mutually
disrespecting industry.  At least when I gradated 30 years ago.
I was at a fairly prestigious university (Caltech) and even there was a
schism.   The Engineering dept was looked down on from the "Pure Science"
departments (Physics, Math, Chemistry, Biology).  At that point there was no
CS dept at all (it was hidden in  Engineering and Applied Scientists).
The Pure Scientists (who self-selected themselves as being at the top of the
intellectual tower) believed overall that if their work had any practical
application then it wasn't worthy of study.    The Engineers (even at the
same school) were the bottom of the rung ...  And below that (sadly) were
the women.
My girlfriend at the time (who was in Physics, much more brilliant then I)
was *literally* told by her advisor that she was wasting the school's and
donor's money by being there because once she graduated she'd just get
married and raise a family and never put her skills to use to society.

Anyway what an interesting (to me) digression.
And I'm no closer to having any practical suggestions to your real question.
How to get smart people interesting in doing real work in XML.   I just dont
see Academia as the path to that as others have said, its not at the early
stages of innovation.   So let's compare it to Engineering.   Where do you
get Engineers who come up with better ways to do things like say build cars
or buildings ? Or even make better computers ?     I see these advances
coming mostly from Industry,  and only occasionally from Academia.   Once in
a while you see an advance in Engineering come of a university then industry
takes it up and turns it into something practical.   But I'm sorry that
doesn't help the young person in collage who needs to get research
sanctioned in order to be able to spend time on it.
( any more then it helps me convince my boss to let me work 50% of my time
on research instead of development - and still pay me.   ).

David A. Lee
dlee at calldei.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Daniela Florescu [mailto:dflorescu at mac.com] 
Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2011 1:11 AM
To: David Lee
Cc: xquery-discuss
Subject: Re: [xquery-talk] XML/XQuery academic conferences ?

> Few  of the cs phds  I've interviewed could do ANY of the tasks you  
> quote.  None had to pass an exam in making programs that actually  
> worked


I am not sure if this is the problem of the Phds, or merely the sample  
that came to you for interview.
I had to pass such an exam.

But: I swear. I've seen them. They do exist. They roam freely all over  
the Sillicon Valley. They are all over Google and Facebook.
And they know how to do those things:  automatic parallelization of  
functional languages, automatic detection of indexes, etc.

**ALL**  of that.

Their problem is that they live in a world where working on XML is  
equated with having a lobotomy
("something REALLY bad must have happened to you...!").

Their peers and teachers, and all the other "stonebreakers" of the  
world, and all the other Stanford and Berkeley professors
  keep telling them them that XML is dead, and that if they work on  
XML they'll destroy their brilliant carriers.

That's what happened to me.
(I still have have a set of emails with such content, from "famous"  
experts in the database world, for the fun of others :-)

Even at my (advanced..)  age, it's not easy to take.

But when you are 20-ish something, trying to figure out what to do  
with your carrier, that's really hard.

And it's not their fault.

It's because the "grown-ups" of this community don't care to make any  
compromises to explain to the rest of the world
why the rest of the world should care about markup languages and  
functional programming as an information querying and processing

A world where the selfish: "keep it small -- aka, such that I can  
control it" is the king.

That what my original email was about.

Best regards

More information about the talk mailing list