Archive for July 8, 2011

How do we fix Google? Correcting a private information source

Google my name, “Mark Guzdial.”  You’ll get back a page that looks something like this.

I’m not an Associate Professor.  I was promoted to “full” Professor six years ago.  Check out the page that Google references — it says I’m a professor.  Check the cached version at Google — it says I’m a professor.  Why does Google tell people I’m an Associate Professor?

It’s slightly more than a minor annoyance.  I have given several talks in the last six years where I have been introduced as “Associate Professor.”  I have a collection of posters advertising my talks on which I’m listed as an “Associate Professor.”  Most people don’t go further than the Google search page when trying to figure out my title.

It’s actually an interesting example of a larger problem.  We have all become reliant on an information source,, which is out of our control and is used pervasively.  If Google says something is true, many people will simply believe it — and there’s virtually no way to call it into question, as I’m trying to do here.  Google is a private company, a private information source, but not a news medium that one can cite and critique.  How do we “fix” Google’s errors?  What about “Don’t be evil“?  Seems fairly “evil” to me to tell lies, spread them widely, and don’t allow for correction.

By the way, Bing gets it right.


July 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm 21 comments

NCWIT database of CS jobs vs graduates per Congressional district

Joanne Cohoon presented this really interesting database at TTU Tapestry this week. NCWIT has gathered data from a variety of sources to let you see the predicted number of jobs requiring a CS/IT degree vs the predicted number of CS/IT graduates per state and per Congressional district.  There are some hiccups in the data, because this stuff is hard to measure.  One hiccup in the data is apparent if you look up at Arizona — it’s the only state in the US where the supply of graduates far exceeds the number of jobs.  That’s because all the University of Phoenix graduates nationwide get counted as Arizona graduates.  When I look up my Congressional district, I find very few graduates — but I wonder if that’s because there are no CS programs in my Congressional district.  As a ballpark measure, it really brings home the huge demand for IT/CS College graduates.

On this page you’ll find data about IT jobs and computer science education, disaggregated by state and congressional district. We encourage you to use these data to influence educators, legislators, administrators, parents, and other decision-makers where you live or work. Please keep in mind that these are the best available computing education and workforce indicators to date; however, they do have limitations. They should serve as a starting point for advocating for CS education and NOT as a way to rank or evaluate specific states and districts. To get the full picture, we suggest you start with the national graphic and then move to state- and district-level data.

via NCWIT : Our Work : Campaigns : Improving Computer Science Education.

July 8, 2011 at 10:08 am 3 comments

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