Posts about university

Offering Residency to Foreign Engineers and Scientists

Rep. Lofgren wants residency for foreign engineers

Foreign-born engineering, science, and math students in the United States should be automatically granted legal residency when they get a job in this country, said California Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren.

Lofgren, a Democrat, spoke to an audience Friday at the Joint Venture: Silicon Valley conference about threats to innovation in the area. She said that about 56 percent of the Ph.D. candidates at the finest schools in the United States are immigrants, and because of the government’s current immigration policy, many of those people leave the country.

I support such legislation. I also think it is only one, of many measure to take to encourage science and engineering excellence (which will in turn help the economy). I have no doubt that other countries are going to be successful establishing their own global centers of excellence and attract scientists and engineers from around the world: including from the USA. The Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog now includes a tag cloud on the right side of our home page, tags for this post include: government and economy.

Related: Brain Drain Benefits to the USA Less Than They Could Beeconomic benefits of science and engineering excellenceUSA Losing Brain Drain Benefits

Engineering Education at Smith College

How to Re-engineer an engineering major at a women’s college:

The first women’s college to offer an engineering degree, Smith is forging new paths in a field that’s eager to swell its ranks in the United States. Women receive only 20 percent of bachelor’s degrees in engineering, according to a new report by the National Science Board (NSB). Like a handful of other liberal arts colleges, Smith is producing graduates who’ve had a different type of engineering education – one that goes beyond technical training to focus on a broader context for finding solutions to humanity’s problems; one that emphasizes ethics and communication; one so flexible that about half the students study abroad, which is rare, despite the multinational nature of many engineering jobs.

Smith’s program boasts a 90 percent retention rate and high participation of underrepresented minorities. Ms. Moriarty hopes to find out which elements of the experience at Smith most contribute to students’ success. Female role models play a part (6 out of 10 engineering faculty here are women), but she says other factors are likely to be more important: “I think the methods being used here could probably translate very easily to other institutions that aren’t all women,” she says.

Related: Smith’s engineering education effortsEngineering Education Study DebateA New Engineering EducationThe Future is Engineering

National Science Board Report on Improving Engineering Education

Moving Forward to Improve Engineering Education a report from the National Science Board:

Changes in the global environment require changes in engineering education. Markets, companies, and supply chains have become much more international and engineering services are often sourced to the countries that can provide the best value. Basic engineering skills (such as knowledge of the engineering fundamentals) have become commodities that can be provided by lower cost engineers in many countries, and some engineering jobs traditionally done in the U.S. are increasingly done overseas. To respond to this changing context, U.S. engineers need new skill sets not easily replicated by low-wage overseas engineers.

Society at large does not have an accurate perception of the nature of engineering. Survey data indicate that the public associates engineers with economic growth and defense, but less so with improving health, the quality of life, and the environment.

The third challenge for engineering education is to retain those students who are initially attracted to engineering. Attrition is substantial in engineering, particularly in the first year of college. About 60 percent of students who enter engineering majors obtain a degree within 6 years. Although this retention rate is comparable to some other fields, it is especially critical for engineering to retain the pool of entering students.

Related: NAE Report on Educating the Engineer of 2020Engineering Education Study DebateEducating Engineers for 2020 and Beyond by Charles VestThe Future is Bright with Engineering and EntrepreneurismGlobal Engineering Education StudyUSA Under-counting Engineering GraduatesLeah Jamieson on the Future of Engineering EducationImproving Engineering Education the Olin Way

Country H-index Rank for Science Publications

The SCImago Journal and Country Rank provides journal and country scientific indicators developed from the information contained in the Scopus database. As stated in previous posts these types of rankings have limitations but they are also interesting (such as the best research universities 2007). The table shows the top 6 countries by h-index and then some others I chose to list.

Country h-index % of World
% of World GDP total Cites % Top 500 Schools

793     4.6%   27.4% 43,436,526 33%
United Kingdom

465  0.9  4.9 9,895,817 8

408  1.3  6.0  8,377,298 8

376  0.9  4.6  5,795,531 4

372  2.0  9.0 7,167,200 6

370  0.5  2.6 4,728,874 4
Additional countries of interest
20) China

161  20.1  5.5  1,629,993 3
20) South Korea

161    .7  1.8  1,018,532 2
24) Brazil

148  2.9  2.2 752,658 1
25) India

146  17.0  1.9 994.561 .4

Read more about the h-index (Hirsh index). Country population and GDP data taken World Development Indicators 2007, by the World Bank.

via: Stat freaks, are you ready to play with the SCImago Journal & Country Rank?

Related: Worldwide Science and Engineering Doctoral Degree DataViews on Evolution by CountryScience and Engineering Doctoral Degrees WorldwideTop 10 Manufacturing Countries 2006USA Teens 29th in ScienceRanking Universities WorldwideDiplomacy, Science Research and Economics

Who Killed the Software Engineer?

Computer Science Education: Where Are the Software Engineers of Tomorrow? by Dr. Robert B.K. Dewar and Dr. Edmond Schonberg

Over the last few years we have noticed worrisome trends in CS education. The following represents a summary of those trends:
1. Mathematics requirements in CS programs are shrinking.
2. The development of programming skills in several languages is giving way to cookbook approaches using large libraries and special-purpose packages.
3. The resulting set of skills is insufficient for today’s software industry (in particular for safety and security purposes) and, unfortunately, matches well what the outsourcing industry can offer. We are training easily replaceable professionals.

As faculty members at New York University for decades, we have regretted the introduction of Java as a first language of instruction for most computer science majors. We have seen how this choice has weakened the formation of our students, as reflected in their performance in systems and architecture courses.

Every programmer must be comfortable with functional programming and with the important notion of referential transparency. Even though most programmers find imperative programming more intuitive, they must recognize that in many contexts that a functional, stateless style is clear, natural, easy to understand, and efficient to boot.

An additional benefit of the practice of Lisp is that the program is written in what amounts to abstract syntax, namely the internal representation that most compilers use between parsing and code generation. Knowing Lisp is thus an excellent preparation for any software work that involves language processing.

This is an excellent article: any CS students or those considering careers as programmers definitely should read this. Also read: Computer Science Education.

via: Who Killed the Software Engineer?

Dewar, a professor emeritus of computer science at New York University, believes that U.S. colleges are turning out programmers who are – there’s no nice way to say this – essentially incompetent.

Related: A Career in Computer ProgrammingProgramming Grads Meet a Skills Gap in the Real WorldProgramming RubyWhat you Need to Know to Be a Computer Game ProgrammerHiring Software DevelopersWhat Ails India’s Software Engineers?

UC-Berkeley Course Videos now on YouTube

About a year ago I posted that UC-Berkeley Course Videos were available on Google Video. Well now the
Berkeley YouTube site includes even more videos of Berkeley lectures. They include those listed on Google Video that I mentioned last year such as Physics for Future Presidents and Search Engines (by Sergey Brin) and more.

They currently have 201 videos posted. Hopefully they will add many more.

Does anyone else have the annoying delay on pages with YouTube videos? My entire browser locks up for probably 15 seconds on average now for any page that has an embedded YouTube video (not always but very often now). I find this very annoying.

Related: Science and Engineering Webcast DirectoryMore Great Webcasts: Nanotech and moreGoogle Technology Talks

Best Research University Rankings – 2007

There are several rankings of universities. They can be interesting but also have obvious limitations. I find Shanghai’s Jiao Tong University’s the most interesting (especially the international nature of it). Their real focus seems to be in providing a way for China to get a feel for how they are progressing toward developing world class universities (interesting slide presentation on their efforts). The methodology values publications and faculty awards and is provides a better ranking of research (rather than teaching). Results from the 2007 rankings of Top 500 Universities worldwide showing country representation of the top schools:

location Top 101 % of World
% of World GDP % of top 500
USA 54     4.6%   27.4%  32.7%
United Kingdom 11  0.9  4.9 8.3
Germany   6  1.3  6.0 8.1
Japan   6  2.0  9.0 6.3
Canada   4  0.5  2.6 4.3
France   4  0.9  4.6 4.3
Sweden   4  0.1  0.8 2.2
Switzerland   3  0.1  0.8 1.6
Australia   2  0.3  1.6 3.3
Netherlands   2  0.3  1.4 2.4
Israel  1  0.1  0.3 1.4
Finland   1  0.1  0.4 1.0
Norway   1  0.1  0.6 0.8
Denmark   1  0.1  0.6 0.8
Russia   1  2.2  2.0 0.4
China  20.1  5.5 2.8
India  17.0  1.9 0.4

China has 1 ranked in the 151-202 range as do Taiwan, Korea and Brazil. Singapore has one in the 102-151 range. The other country without any in the top 101 with representation in the next 101 is Italy with 3 schools in the 102-151 range and 2 in the 152-202 range. India has 2 in the 305-401 range.

Top 10 schools (same schools as last year, Cambridge moved from 2nd to 4th):

  • Harvard University
  • Stanford University
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • Cambridge University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT)
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Columbia University
  • Princeton University
  • University Chicago
  • Oxford University

University of Wisconsin – Madison is 17th 🙂 My father taught there while I grew up.
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Ranking Universities Worldwide

The Webometrics Ranking of World Universities provides another estimate of the top universities. The methodology is far ideal however I still find it interesting. The various attempts to rank schools can provide a general idea of impact of various institutions (though the measures are fairly crude). Still a sensible picture (especially at the country level) can emerge. And the various rankings should be a able to track shifts in the most influential institutions and relative country strength over time. How quickly those rankings track changes will vary depending on the measures used. I would imagine most will lag the “real” changes as it is easy to imagine many measures that would lag. Still, as I have said before, I expect the USA will lose in relative ranking compared to China, India, Japan, Singapore, Mexico…

The ranking methodology used here weighed rankings in: Jiao Tong academic rankings, Essential Science Indicators, Google Scholar, Alexa (a measure of web site visits to universities) and The Times Higher World University Rankings.

Country representation of the top universities (number of top schools in each country):

location Webometrics
Top 100
Jiao Tong
Top 101
% of World
% of World GDP*
USA 53 54   4.6%   30.4%
Germany 10   5  1.3   6.3
Canada   8   4  0.5   2.5
United Kingdom   6 10  0.9   5.0
Australia   3   2  0.3   1.6
Japan   1   6 2.0 10.3
The rest of Europe 16 13
Brazil   1   0   2.8   1.8
Mexico   1   0   1.6   1.7
Israel   0   1   0.1   0.3

* IMF, World Economic Outlook Database, September 2006 (2005 data)
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Asia: Rising Stars of Science and Engineering

Great report – The Atlas of Ideas: How Asian innovation can benefit us all by Charles Leadbeater and James Wilsdon:

Each country will develop differently. In South Korea strong government support has created a world-class information infrastructure.

China is mobilising massive resources for innovation through ambitious long-term plans, funded by rapid economic growth. Beijing’s university district produces as many engineers as all of western Europe. China is developing world-class universities and attracting multinational innovation centres.

India’s elite, trained at the Indian Institutes of Technology, are second to none. New institutions like the National Science and Engineering Foundation could energise a disjointed innovation system. Yet India’s innovation elite may face a rural backlash. Its infrastructure is in poor repair and cities like Bengalooru are congested. Even the much-vaunted IITs do not, unlike their US counterparts, animate innovation clusters.
Percentage of world share of scientific publications

Year China France Germany Japan Korea UK US EU-15
1995 2.05 6.09 7.62 8.65 0.79 8.88 33.54 34.36
1998 2.90 6.48 8.82 9.42 1.41 9.08 31.63 36.85
2001 4.30 6.33 8.68 9.52 2.01 8.90 31.01 36.55
2004 6.52 5.84 8.14 8.84 2.70 8.33 30.48 35.18

Excellent reading, the report is full of useful information I have not been able to obsorb yet.
Related: Diplomacy and Science ResearchThe World’s Best Research UniversitiesEngineering the Future EconomyWorldwide Science and Engineering Doctoral Degree DataUSA Under-counting Engineering GraduatesIncreasing American Fellowship Support for Scientists and Engineers
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Open Access Education Materials

Watch a video of Richard Baraniuk (Rice University professor speaking at TED) discussing Connexions: an open-access education publishing system. The content available through Connexions includes short content modules such as:

What is Engineering??:

Engineering is the endeavor that creates, maintains, develops, and applies technology for societies’ needs and desires.

One of the first distinctions that must be made is between science and engineering.

Science is the study of what is and engineering is the creation of can be.

and: Protein Folding, as well as full courses, such as: Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering I and Physics for K-12.

Related: Google technical talk webcasts (including a presentation by Richard Baraniuk at Google) – podcasts of Technical Talks at Googlescience podcast postsBerkeley and MIT courses online

The World’s Best Research Universities

Shanghai’s Jiao Tong University produces a ranking of the top universities annually (since 2003). The methodology used focuses on research (publications) and faculty quality (Fields and Nobel awards and citations). While this seems a very simplistic ranking it still provides some interesting data: highlights from the 2006 rankings of Top 500 Universities worldwide include:

Country representation in the top schools:

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location Top 101 % of World
% of World GDP % of top 500
USA 54   4.6%   28.4%  33.4%
United Kingdom 10  0.9   5.1 8.6
Japan   6 2.0 11.2 6.4
Canada   4  0.5   2.4 8.0
The rest of Europe 18 4.4
Australia   2   0.3   1.5 3.2
Israel   1   0.1   0.3 1.4

Update: see our post on 2007 best research universities results

Top 10 schools:

  • Harvard University
  • Cambridge University
  • Stanford University
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT)
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Columbia University
  • Princeton University
  • University Chicago
  • Oxford University

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