No, I am not looking for a job at Google!

 

I have been contacted a number of times in the last few months by recruiters or what have turned out to be recruiters from Google.  For the record, I am not currently looking for a job and I am specifically not looking for a job at Google.  🙁

I am developing tools and algorithms for automating complex data analysis, reducing costs and increasing results.  I am interested in conversations with potential customers and interested parties.  You should have a sincere, genuine interest in my work if you contact me.

(C) 2017 by John F. McGowan, Ph.D.

John F. McGowan, Ph.D. solves problems using mathematics and mathematical software, including developing gesture recognition for touch devices, video compression and speech recognition technologies. He has extensive experience developing software in C, C++, MATLAB, Python, Visual Basic and many other programming languages. He has been a Visiting Scholar at HP Labs developing computer vision algorithms and software for mobile devices. He has worked as a contractor at NASA Ames Research Center involved in the research and development of image and video processing algorithms and technology. He has published articles on the origin and evolution of life, the exploration of Mars (anticipating the discovery of methane on Mars), and cheap access to space. He has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.S. in physics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

Personal Note: A Possible Break-in at my Apartment Complex?

When I returned from early morning breakfast at about 7:40 AM today (September 12, 2017) I found the lobby door to my apartment building ajar with some visible damage to the door.  The door seemed undamaged, closed, fine when I left about a half hour before.  There was a police car parked on across the street which is unusual.

The open damaged door looked a lot to me like someone had forced it open.

I later asked the apartment management if there had been a break-in and they indicated they had no knowledge of a break-in.  There was no evidence of any entry to my apartment which is located directly above the lobby door.

Open Damaged Lobby Door
Open Damaged Lobby Door
Closeup of Damaged Lobby Door
Closeup of Damaged Lobby Door

 

This is a closeup of some scuff marks on the door:

Scuff Marks on Lobby Door
Scuff Marks on Lobby Door

 

This is a picture of the police car parked across the street:

 

Police Car Across the Street
Police Car Across the Street

 

This is a closeup of the license plate of the police car (1457472)

Closeup of License Plate of Police Car
Closeup of License Plate of Police Car

It is difficult to know what to make of this without more information.  I am more uneasy over this incident than I would normally be due to the break-in at my personal storage locker in early July and my mysterious automobile accident on July 19.  Hopefully, it is just a random coincidence.

UPDATE: September 14, 2017

Good news!

I was able to contact the Mountain View Police Department regarding the police car parked across the street.  This was the relevant part of their response to my inquiry:

There was no threat to public safety when you saw our car yesterday on Del Medio. We responded to a call of a missing person. That case has since been resolved.

I would note that that is not an explicit denial that the lobby door was related to the police car, but, if so, the lobby door probably would not be the sort of incident I was concerned about.

According to the apartment complex management, they are not aware of any incident and the chrome plating on the door has a history of coming unglued.  I still suspect something happened with the lobby door — I have used it for many years and never seen something like this — but these responses support that it probably has a mostly innocuous explanation.  It still would be nice to know exactly what happened.  🙂

(C) 2017 by John F. McGowan, Ph.D.

 

John F. McGowan, Ph.D. solves problems using mathematics and mathematical software, including developing gesture recognition for touch devices, video compression and speech recognition technologies. He has extensive experience developing software in C, C++, MATLAB, Python, Visual Basic and many other programming languages. He has been a Visiting Scholar at HP Labs developing computer vision algorithms and software for mobile devices. He has worked as a contractor at NASA Ames Research Center involved in the research and development of image and video processing algorithms and technology. He has published articles on the origin and evolution of life, the exploration of Mars (anticipating the discovery of methane on Mars), and cheap access to space. He has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.S. in physics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

STEM Employment Related Articles

Inside the Growing Guest Worker Program Trapping Indian Students in Virtual Servitude

An article in the left-wing Mother Jones magazine on Indian students and the OPT program, using students at the University of Central Missouri as examples.

STEM Worker High Turnover Rates

http://www.businessinsider.com/employee-retention-rate-top-tech-companies-2017-8

An article in Business Insider on the possible high turnover rate of many tech companies.  It does not clearly separate the turnover rate and average duration of employment at a company.  A company that is growing rapidly can have a low turnover rate and a low average duration of employment simply because so many employees are new.  If a company doubles in size in two years, half its’ employees will have no more than two years of employment at the company.

Apple, for example, has been growing and hiring rapidly the last several years.  Many employees are new which will pull down the average employment time.   Having worked at Apple from 2014-2016, I suspect it does have a high turnover rate but it is hard to prove due to the apparent rapid growth of the company.

Alleged Age Discrimination in STEM

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170828-the-amazing-fertility-of-the-older-mind

An article from the BBC on the considerable ability of older people to learn new things contrary to a common stereotype.

https://www.computerworld.com/article/3090087/it-careers/google-age-discrimination-lawsuit-may-become-monster.html

An article by Patrick Thibodeau at Computerworld on the Google age discrimination class action lawsuit.

Race and Sex Discrimination in STEM

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/aug/07/silicon-valley-google-diversity-black-women-workers

An article in The Guardian questioning Google and other Silicon Valley employer explanations for the low numbers of some groups in their companies, pointing to the large number and percentage of African Americans employees in software engineering in the Washington DC area — generally at government agencies such as NASA and government contractors.

It should be noted that the DC metro area is about 25 percent African-American whereas California as a whole is about 6.5 percent African-American.  Of course, as the article points out, Google and many other tech companies recruit worldwide.

However, Hispanics with visible American Indian ancestry almost certainly make up over 30 percent of California and the San Francisco Bay Area’s population, a comparable or even larger fraction than African-Americans in the DC metro area.  The US Census claims that 38.9 percent of people in California in 2016 were Hispanic-Latino.  Probably 80 to 90 percent of these have visible American Indian ancestry.

The US Census relies on self-identification for race rather than visible appearance.  Hispanics self-identify as white, mixed race, “other race,” and sometimes American Indian/Native American.  My personal impression is that genuine discrimination tends to follow visible appearance and accent/spoken dialect of English.

Hispanic is not a racial category, including people who are entirely European and indeed Northern European in appearance.  At least in my personal experience, most — not all — Hispanics in leadership and engineering positions at high tech companies like Google are European in appearance.  On its diversity web site, Google claims that 4 percent of its workforce in 2017 are Hispanic.

UPDATE (added September 11, 2017)

“At Google, Employee-Led Effort Finds Men Are Paid More Than Women,” by Daisuke Wakabayashi, New York Times, September 8, 2017

The article discusses an internal Google spreadsheet set up by a now former Google employee with self-reported salary and bonus information from Google employees showing women paid less than men.  There is also discussion of the current Labor Department investigation into disparities in salaries between men and women at Google as well as activist investors pressuring Google to disclose information on the salaries of men and women at Google.

 

Articles Questioning STEM Shortage Claims

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/so-much-for-the-stem-shortage/

Tech industry’s persistent claim of worker shortage may be phony, by Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, August 1, 2015

An article noting the obvious inconsistency between the many layoff announcements in high tech and the claims of a shortage of STEM workers, often by the same employers.

The Open Office Nightmare

Apple staffers reportedly rebelling against open office plan at new $5 billion HQ

An article claiming discontent over the new open office plans at Apple’s new headquarters — the “Spaceship” — in Cupertino.

(C) 2017 John F. McGowan, Ph.D.

About the author

John F. McGowan, Ph.D. solves problems using mathematics and mathematical software, including developing gesture recognition for touch devices, video compression and speech recognition technologies. He has extensive experience developing software in C, C++, MATLAB, Python, Visual Basic and many other programming languages. He has been a Visiting Scholar at HP Labs developing computer vision algorithms and software for mobile devices. He has worked as a contractor at NASA Ames Research Center involved in the research and development of image and video processing algorithms and technology. He has published articles on the origin and evolution of life, the exploration of Mars (anticipating the discovery of methane on Mars), and cheap access to space. He has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.S. in physics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

 

“Introduction to Automating Complex Data Analysis” Video Published

(C) 2017 by John F. McGowan, Ph.D.

About the author

John F. McGowan, Ph.D. solves problems using mathematics and mathematical software, including developing gesture recognition for touch devices, video compression and speech recognition technologies. He has extensive experience developing software in C, C++, MATLAB, Python, Visual Basic and many other programming languages. He has been a Visiting Scholar at HP Labs developing computer vision algorithms and software for mobile devices. He has worked as a contractor at NASA Ames Research Center involved in the research and development of image and video processing algorithms and technology. He has published articles on the origin and evolution of life, the exploration of Mars (anticipating the discovery of methane on Mars), and cheap access to space. He has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.S. in physics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

 

Video of “Automating Complex Data Analysis” Presentation to the Bay Area SAS Users Group

 

This is an edited video of my presentation on “Automating Complex Data Analysis” to the Bay Area SAS Users Group (BASAS) on August 31, 2017 at Building 42, Genentech in South San Francisco, CA.

The demonstration of the Analyst in a Box prototype starts at 14:10 (14 minutes, 10 seconds). The demo is a video screen capture with high quality audio.

Unfortunately there was some background noise from a party in the adjacent room starting about 12:20 until 14:10 although my voice is understandable.

Updated slides for the presentation are available at: https://goo.gl/Gohw87

You can find out more about the Bay Area SAS Users Group at http://www.basas.com/

Abstract:

Complex data analysis attempts to solve problems with one or more inputs and one or more outputs related by complex mathematical rules, usually a sequence of two or more non-linear functions applied iteratively to the inputs and intermediate computed values. A prominent example is determining the causes and possible treatments for poorly understood diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and autism spectrum disorders where multiple genetic and environmental factors may contribute to the disease and the disease has multiple symptoms and metrics, e.g. blood pressure, heart rate, and heart rate variability.

Another example are macroeconomic models predicting employment levels, inflation, economic growth, foreign exchange rates and other key economic variables for investment decisions, both public and private, from inputs such as government spending, budget deficits, national debt, population growth, immigration, and many other factors.

A third example is speech recognition where a complex non-linear function somehow maps from a simple sequence of audio measurements — the microphone sound pressure levels — to a simple sequence of recognized words: “I’m sorry Dave. I can’t do that.”

State-of-the-art complex data analysis is labor intensive, time consuming, and error prone — requiring highly skilled analysts, often Ph.D.’s or other highly educated professionals, using tools with large libraries of built-in statistical and data analytical methods and tests: SAS, MATLAB, the R statistical programming language and similar tools. Results often take months or even years to produce, are often difficult to reproduce, difficult to present convincingly to non-specialists, difficult to audit for regulatory compliance and investor due diligence, and sometimes simply wrong, especially where the data involves human subjects or human society.

A widely cited report from the McKinsey management consulting firm suggests that the United States may face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 such human analysts by 2018: http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/big-data-the-next-frontier-for-innovation.

This talk discusses the current state-of-the-art in attempts to automate complex data analysis. It discusses widely used tools such as SAS and MATLAB and their current limitations. It discusses what the automation of complex data analysis may look like in the future, possible methods of automating complex data analysis, and problems and pitfalls of automating complex data analysis. The talk will include a demonstration of a prototype system for automating complex data analysis including automated generation of SAS analysis code.

(C) 2017 John F. McGowan, Ph.D.

About the author

John F. McGowan, Ph.D. solves problems using mathematics and mathematical software, including developing gesture recognition for touch devices, video compression and speech recognition technologies. He has extensive experience developing software in C, C++, MATLAB, Python, Visual Basic and many other programming languages. He has been a Visiting Scholar at HP Labs developing computer vision algorithms and software for mobile devices. He has worked as a contractor at NASA Ames Research Center involved in the research and development of image and video processing algorithms and technology. He has published articles on the origin and evolution of life, the exploration of Mars (anticipating the discovery of methane on Mars), and cheap access to space. He has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.S. in physics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).