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February 28, 2006


My complaint with this call is that you are limited to 1, yes 1, proposal per PI. In the old days, communications and core theory were in different branches of the NSF tree, and I could apply to both -- so I could collaborate with EE people on the communications side, and theory people on the theory side. I guess the NSF doesn't want people doing things like that anymore. (I suppose I could understand if they were keeping up with annual calls -- I could apply to one in one year, and one the next. But with these 18 month gaps...)

By the way, none of this should be construed as a negative statement against the NSF, which I love dearly, as they have, on multiple occasions, actually given me money. I just think this is a further example of how unfortunately constrained theoretical foundations is in the current NSF structure.

Michael Mitzenmacher


I hadn't noticed that restriction. In the previous call, the limit was two proposals per person. They probably realize we're all getting hungry, and they want to cut down on their workload.

Perhaps naïvely, I suspect the 18-month gap is a one-time thing, not a new tradition. NSF got caught spending its next year's budget, so there was a rolling one-year blackout in every area. At roughly the same time, there was a major reorganization within CISE, not to mention a few major disasters (Iraq, Katrina, Janet's wardrobe malfunction). Hopefully the dust has mostly settled, and we'll start to see annual calls for regular proposals again.

Daniel Lemire

I really like this statement:

"""Given this large install base and on-going development by Microsoft, PureEdge has decided to adopt the Virtual PC emulator as it’s primary means of providing support for MacIntosh computers."""

This reminds me of the Canadian Standard Association which offers web services requiring Internet Explorer on Windows since "this is the standard".

To be fair, to be platform neutral is hard work. It actually requires you to be aware of your hidden assumptions. You need to question everything you do. In other words, you need to act like a pro. With the falling salaries in IT, and more "pros" moving on to other jobs (like business jobs) or retiring, you can't be surprised at this sort of thing.

At my university, I was talking recently to one of our "programmers". I had no idea what being a "programmer" entailed. Turns out that the guy has an 8-months degree from some private for-profit school. This guy probably earns a really bad salary. He has minimal training. Minimal consideration. So, naturally, while his work is ok, you can't expect state-of-the-art results.

What is needed is for IT to become a recognized discipline and not something flunked out CS people do. ;-)

[Disclaimer: I never worked in IT, my training was entirely in math.]

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