America’s Technology Advantage Slipping

Posted on May 3, 2006  Comments (1)

A Red Flag In The Brain Game.

The 30th Annual ACM-ICPC World Finals sponsored by IBM were held in San Antonio this April: view results.

Of the home teams, only Massachusetts Institute of Technology ranked among the 12 highest finishers. Most top spots were seized by teams from Eastern Europe and Asia. Until the late 1990s, U.S. teams dominated these contests. But the tide has turned. Last year not one was in the top dozen.

As an indicator this is a minor one. But it is one more indication that indeed the tide is turning. The results seem worse based on “The 83 teams who competed in the World Finals are made up of 22 North American teams, 3 teams from Africa/Middle East, 7 from Latin America, 22 from Europe and Russia, and 29 from the Asia/South Pacific region.” So the USA had close to 20% of the participants and only 1 of the top 38 teams (Canada had at least 4 in the top 38). The USA had 5 of the 17 teams tied for 39th place.

The poor showings should serve as a wake-up call for government, industry, and educators. The output of American computer science programs is plummeting, even while that of Eastern European and Asian schools is rising. China and India, the new global tech powerhouses, are fueled by 900,000 engineering graduates of all types each year, more than triple the number of U.S. grads. Computer science is a key subset of engineering. “If our talent base weakens, our lead in technology, business, and economics will fade faster than any of us can imagine,” warns Richard Florida, a professor at George Mason University and author of The Flight of the Creative Class.

Again results of two years of this programming challenge are hardly a significant indication. Still if there was any field that Americans felt they still felt they were dominant in it would likely be programing (maybe health care – what do you think?). Given that this seemed at least worth a post in our blog.

It is also interesting to note, this Business Week article uses the “China and India, the new global tech powerhouses, are fueled by 900,000 engineering graduates of all types each year, more than triple the number of U.S. grads.” stats even though this article specifically tracks a Duke team and Business Week published several articles on the Duke study, USA Under-counting Engineering Graduates, that refutes those numbers.

Related Posts:

One Response to “America’s Technology Advantage Slipping”

  1. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » The World’s Best Research Universities
    August 19th, 2006 @ 9:32 am

    […] America‚Äôs Technology Advantage Slipping […]

Leave a Reply