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Communications of the ACM


The Explosive Growth of Postdocs in Computer Science

The Explosive Growth of Postdocs in Computer Science, illustration

Considering the factors influencing the recent rapid increase in the number of postdoctoral positions in computer science.

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Tim Harris

Without making any comment on the sentiments here, it is a shame to see the ACM presenting another US-centric article (e.g., stats quoted from US surveys without any qualification). I wish the ACM would make a proper effort to be an international society. -- Tim Harris


I definitely agree with the sencod point, I wish there'd been more opportunity to discuss alternative career options. Now I am in the final haul of my PhD, have realised I don't want to be an academic afterall (personal lifestyle choice, mostly) and starting to panic about what to do besides that. I guess I'm lucky in that I already know where my other interests/strengths are, so I can look there first. But it's terrifying to realise you ended up on that ever-narrowing path and want to get off!

CACM Administrator

The following letter was published in the Letters to the Editor in the April 2013 CACM (
--CACM Administrator

Anita Jones's Viewpoint "The Explosive Growth of Postdocs in Computer Science" (Feb. 2013) covered an important topic but failed to say explicitly that her argument did not include Europe or Asia. The Taulbee survey (, from which she drew her data, is limited to North America, an important job market but not the only one. There are probably more CS faculty and researchers outside (than in) North America. And more than half of the top 200 universities in CS worldwide, as ranked by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University index, are outside North America (

Communications missed an opportunity to address the wider ACM audience on a potentially global (not just North American) phenomenon. Moreover, looking beyond North America would be a good way to help achieve the vision Vinton G. Cerf outlined in his President's Letter "Growing the ACM Family" in the same issue.

Toby Walsh
Kensington, NSW, Australia

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