[Beowulf] value of parallel programming experience (was: Checkpointing using flash)

Vincent Diepeveen diep at xs4all.nl
Mon Sep 24 16:07:52 PDT 2012

It's totally different nation from nation.

As for Netherlands. Despite being one of the richest nations on the  
planet right now,
this is a nation where government is huge and industry is small.

For each person in industry there is litterally 9 (semi-) civil  
servants, as industry uses
calculations on how many persons they need as a maximum to do a job  
and they like to do
things cheaper.

So the parallel calculations are limited in nature as industry is so  

Netherlands, despite having in  cash 1200 billion euro just for a few  
pension funds,
they are not so professional running this cash. In fact they got  
their butt kicked in derivative
trade bigtime.

Discussions there from my side with parliament didn't help. See it as  
greedy financials where each
one of them grabs something, and a bunch of civil servants who watch  
this big cash meanwhile bragging
they still make a 'good profit'.

That's the hardest of all evidence how bad they are in computation.

The underlying problem here is that basically a good 'programmer'  
gets paid worse. For example in healthcare
here, salaries of specialists are higher than in USA on average. Of  
course the extremes are larger in USA, yet the
AVERAGE income here is higher of specialists in healthcare.

A good programmer just makes 25% of what such specialist makes.

The question then is: "for whom does he program for?"

And that answer is that there is very few companies here that hire  
algorithmic experts to setup the crunching.

As a result of that bizarre difference in payment, not surprisingly  
in 2007 more academic trained persons left Netherlands
than all universities and colleges managed to train.

There is plenty of PHD positions here for HPC related work. They pay  
around a 500 euro a month though. Compare to average
IT salary here is around a 4500 euro a month (before tax, yet you can  
tax reduce mortgage still, so the before tax is pretty important).

After you get your PHD, or maybe not, historically for technical  
personnel there were options.

a) if you studied at a technical university basically you would get  
hired by any organisation or company and within a few years become  
     your future is bright in Netherlands then

b) if you studied at for example University Utrecht, until recently a  
top50 of the world university, like i did do, then basically
     90% of all companies and organisations with interesting  
positions do not hire you in Netherlands. As they hire only persons from
     TECHNICAL universities. Usually H&R here is girls of age 25 or  
so and they just throw away all resumes/CV's that do not list a  

It's not as bad as in Germany where you without phd can't get a  
managers position in many companies; which explains why such huge  
number of
phd thesisses exist in Germany, most of very bad quality, to use a  
very polite phrasing. Consider Germany is worlds biggest exporter,  
around 4x larger
than China. In 2007 for example where China had an export surplus of  
around a 45+ billion euro a year, Germany had an export surplus of 180 
+ billion

Yet the huge difference here is technical university versus normal  
university. 95% of the talented persons who follow normal university  
and can't get
  an interesting job here therefore, they move abroad. Only those who  
can cure people, they stay and get paid 250k euro a year. Non  
specialists still
make against 200k euro a year as a 'house curing doctor'' here.

If you on other hand would have expertise in HPC and get hired  
somewhere to do some website work, be lucky if you get 4k - 5k euro a  
month (note
that employers pay pension and social taxes, so to compare with USA  
add 20% or so). Simple job.
Usually you do know however then what happens around you. Especially  
attractive such IT jobs are to ex-police officers who try to 'grow  
further'. As they
start with a salary of 1700 euro a month (before tax, though they  
hardly pay tax on this amount, near zero).

In the meantime those 20-30 year old girls who do H&R in companies,  
and who make themselves 2400 euro a month, they won't be able to  
spell what
'parallel programming' is , let alone 'cloud computing'. The only  
buzzwords they know is what university you stayed at, and the rest  
they don't care.

So if you realize this, you can hire the very best Dutch.

In the end the real problem is too big of a government. Employing  
indirectly 5.5 million persons (1 million directly civil servant,
2.2 million healthcare, 2.3 million semi-civil servants)  out of 7.8  
million of age 18-65 from which a part of course is 60-65 and from that
group just 15% or so still works.

Total industry is around a 600k persons.

With such large govenrment you get then bad paid girls hiring skilled  
persons and these girls they just don't care except where you studied.
How good or bad you are is total irrelevant to them.

Don't expect any of those girls to be able to read your resume.  
Whether you list speaking Chinese, MPI or Google Talk, that's all  
indifferent to them.

Salaries in this sector are considerable higher in Germany.

On Sep 24, 2012, at 11:41 PM, Bogdan Costescu wrote:

> On Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 6:57 PM, Andrew Holway  
> <andrew.holway at gmail.com> wrote:
>> In Germany, at present, there is I believe a
>> fairly significant net surplus if compute resource as our scientists
>> try to wrap their heads around parallel programming to take advantage
>> of this exponentially increasing resource.
> I beg to disagree on both parts of the phrase.
> First, Germany has indeed a significant amount of HPC resources, but I
> wouldn't call them "net surplus". If you know of HPC resources which
> are lightly loaded, please let me know and I'll pass the info to the
> people with a chronic lack of compute time :)
> Secondly, there are quite a number of scientists in Germany who
> already know parallel programming well. But I've listened to several
> talks and following discussions on what needs to be done to take
> advantage of their skills. Everybody agrees that something needs to be
> done, to make these skills more valuable, but in the end not much is
> felt by those scientists. Somehow adding "parallel programming
> experience" to a CV doesn't seem to increase chances of getting hired
> or a higher income. Other criteria seem much more important... but
> these other criteria are often not correlated with HPC knowledge.
> Which then results in "scientists try to wrap their heads around
> parallel programming" as you mention. Some of the scientists with the
> valuable knowledge choose to go away from Germany; some might
> eventually come back but on a higher position (afterall, they have the
> foreign experience!), where the parallel programming knowledge is not
> important or the busy schedule doesn't allow using it in practice.
> Sure, there are also exceptions... but as the problem is already
> recognized and discussed, the exceptions remain few.
> Not sure if this is limited to Germany. Any foreign opinions ?
> Cheers,
> Bogdan
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