Monday, March 04, 2013

Rankings Don't Matter (But)

Back when I started at Harvard, people would literally say things to me like, "I didn't know Harvard had computer science."

Now I could just point such people here.  

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

OK, but now my question is, University of Oxford has computer science?

Jeff Erickson said...

Wow. I know some people who are going to be pissed. (But not about Harvard.)

Anonymous said...

On the subject of rankings...being on the job market, I am truly curious as to the effect of ranking: do the top 10-15 schools (I doubt you can generalize but perhaps you can speak based on your experiences at Harvard) ever "accidentally" interview (or even consider) a candidate from a lesser ranked ranked school (say top 20-40)? It seems this is never the case!

Anonymous said...

I feel that rankings for graduate programs are very misleading, since most of graduate school is very advisor dependent.

Anonymous said...

After checking, I found that USNWR is not the survey that ranked a non-existent law school, but I have known of some very, um, interesting choices they have made in the "reputation"-heavy subject rankings.

Luca Aceto said...

To Anonymous #1: Yes the University of Oxford has computer science and has had the Computer Laboratory for many years, since the days when people like Christopher Strachey, Dana Scott and Tony Hoare were there :-)

After a period of comparative decline, the University of Oxford started rebuilding its strength in computer science a few years ago. In a relatively short time, it has attracted a large number of top-class scientists. I could mention quite a few, but take a look at http://www.cs.ox.ac.uk/people/faculty.html and form your own opinion. Note that Leslie-Ann and Paul Goldberg will join Oxford this coming summer, further strengthening their budding Algorithms group.

IMHO, Oxford could be ranked even higher than it already is. Even though rankings should be taken with a pinch of salt, there seems to be a convergence of opinions that Oxford is the top CS department in Europe (see http://www.cs.ox.ac.uk/news/549-full.html). Believe me, there is no shortage of competition out there.

Anonymous said...

Just a note to those discussing the UK ratings to point out that these are the British biased QS rankings.

UK universities routinely rank 5-15 spots higher than in most other comparable rankings.

Anonymous said...

I don't care about university rankings (mostly political). I only care about people.