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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Why I'm going away Harvard?

Why I'm going away Harvard?

The word is out that I have decided to resign my irremovable school job at Harvard to stay at Google. Obviously this can be an enormous modification in my career, and one that I have spent an amazing amount of your time mulling over the previous few months.

Rather than let rumors spread concerning the explanations for my move, I think I ought to be pretty direct in explaining my thinking here.

 Harvard university
I should say 1st of all that i am not going away as a result of of any issues with Harvard. On the contrary, I love Harvard, and will miss it plenty. The computer science school area unit completely top-notch, and the students are the simplest a faculty member may ever hope to figure with. It is an amazing environment, very subsidiary, and full of great individuals. They were crazy enough to give American state tenure, and I feel no small pang of guilt for going away currently. I joined Harvard because it offered the chance to create an enormous impact on a good department at a vital college, and I haven't any regrets about my call to travel there eight years past. But my own priorities in life have modified, and I feel that it is time to maneuver on.

There is one simple reason that i am going away academia: I merely love work i am doing at Google. I get to hack all day, working on issues that area unit orders of magnitude larger and additional attention-grabbing than I will work on at any university Harvard . That is really onerous to beat, and is worth additional to American state than having "Prof." in front of my name, or a big workplace, or even permanent employment. In many ways in which, working at Google is realizing the dream I've had of building massive systems my entire career.

As I've blogged about before, being a professor is not the duty i assumed it'd be. There's a ton of overhead concerned, and (at least for me) getting funding is a ton tougher than it ought to be. Also, it's increasingly onerous to do "big systems" add an educational setting. Arguably the problems in trade area unit such a lot larger than what most teachers will tackle. It would be nice if that will change, but you understand the old chestnut -- if you cannot beat 'em, join 'em.

The cynical read is that as systems scientist, the very best doable outcome for your analysis is that somebody at Google or Microsoft or Facebook reads one among your papers, gets inspired by it, and implements something like it internally. Chances area unit they're going to got to modification your plan drastically to induce it to really work, and you'll ne'er hear concerning it. And of course the number of overhead and bureaucratic procedure (grant proposals, teaching, committee work, etc.) you have to try and do except the interesting technical work severely limits your ability to really get thereto purpose. At Google, I have a way more direct route from plan to execution to impact. I can simply sit down and write the code and deploy the system, on more machines than I can ever have access to at a university. I personally notice this way additional satisfying than the frilly educational method.

Of course, academic analysis is unbelievably necessary, and forms the basis for much of what happens in trade. The question for me is just that aspect of the innovation pipeline i would like to figure on. Academics have a ton of freedom, but this comes at the price of high overhead and a extended path from plan to application. I really admire the lecturers UN agency have had major impact outside of the state of mind, like David Patterson at Berkeley. I also admire the professors UN agency flourish in Associate in Nursing educational setting, writing books, giving talks, mentoring students, sitting on government advisory boards, all that. I never found most of those things terribly satisfying, and all of that extra work solely takes far from time spent building systems, which is what I very wish to be doing.

We'll be moving to Seattle in the spring, where Google has a sizable workplace. (Why Seattle and not California? principally my mate additionally has a nice job lined up there, but Seattle's additionally a ton cheaper, and we will sleep in the town while not an extended commute to figure.) I'm very excited concerning the move and the new opportunities. At the same time I'm unhappy concerning going away my colleagues and family at Harvard. I owe them so a lot of for his or her support and encouragement over the years. Hopefully they can perceive my reasons for going away which this is often the toughest factor I've ever had to try and do.

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