Hypothetical Center for Algorithm Engineering
I was thinking the other day: we have great examples of centers for theory/math (IAS, DIMACS, IMA, IPAM), but what would be an interesting center for algorithm engineering? Do we need one, and assuming we did, how would we organize it? Say we do. Here is a potential organization: a few resident professors with responsibility, some visitors, dozens of well-paid, top class research programmers.
- Top algorithms researchers visit the center for say 3 or 6 months at a time, and spend time interacting with the research programmers to implement a set of algorithms for a problem. This would include "their" algorithms of course, but ideally, would force the researchers to spend time understanding other competing algorithms and working with the research programmers to find the best implementations. It will also help the researchers learn a few tricks how to build programs in practice and may be ego soothing (my algorithm triumphs) or ego seething (my algorithm is no better than others').
- Graduating PhD students who don't want research career, but want to do more thinking than one finds in average software engineer job with a software company, may find useful careers as research programmers.