Saturday, April 18, 2009

Research and Manage

Researchers sometimes become managers. I am not talking about being a professor, for to be a professor is to be a startup company on your own, managing funds, space, students, courses, colleagues, committees and more all by oneself. I am talking about being a manager in corporate research labs, managing research equals.

An example I watched closely was Joan Feigenbaum when she managed a group at AT&T. One of her great qualities was to think big, create a foundation and develop a research area into an ecosystem for years. She seized the initiative on massive data sets and with initial results, got many of us into the data streams area. About the same time, she and her coauthors developed secure approximations that several have since explored. Also, I remember her angst formalizing clean game theoretic questions in IP networking; with talks and writeups, she got many to follow.

Others manage and excel, in similar or other unique styles, and Joan herself has managed and led in other areas and roles. We need ways to recognize such contributions, beyond mere blog posts.



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