Big Tech is a brain drain on government technology


Hello and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: why this year’s Turing Award winner worries about the future of government tech efforts, Nvidia takes a closer look at the healthcare market and the debut of “Pixel Pat.”

Twirl up

Intel is still the leader in cloud infrastructure chips by a wide margin, but AMD continues to gain ground in this lucrative market. AMD’s chips accounted for 72% of all new cloud instances in February, and overall now enjoy 14.8% of the cloud market compared to Intel’s 78.6%, according to a Jefferies research note. .

Big Tech is stealing talent from government labs. This year’s Turing winner doesn’t like it.

Turing laureate Jack Dongarra’s new “Nobel Prize in Computing” trophy for his supercomputer work comes with a handsome million dollars donated by Google. But Dongarra would rather the company and its Big Tech brethren stop recruiting talent from its lab system.

In fact, he said he was fed up with government labs acting like the proverbial farm crew. for Big Tech.

  • “One of my concerns is that students and researchers are leaving the academic situation and ending up in industry,” Dongarra told Protocol earlier this week.
  • Instead, he said, the people he and others help train at large government labs often end up at Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Google, he said.
  • “It’s draining significant amounts of talent to these companies, and at the expense of the search community,” Dongarra said.

Dongarra is a professor at the University of Tennessee and researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, two places where major tech companies have sought out science and technology talent.

  • The brain drain from academia to the private sector is a cause for concern, but Dongarra said he expected it in his academic role.
  • “In college, I play the role of a minor league Triple-A providing talent to the major leagues, and that’s okay. It’s a good way to look at it.”
  • But when it comes to government labs, things should be different, he said. “In labs, it’s hard to see it that way,” Dongarra said.

In general, it has been difficult for government agencies and labs to compete for talent for bigger private sector salaries and perks, like gourmet lunches and kombucha kegs (and don’t forget about those tempting stock options).

  • “They can’t offer stock options, for example,” Dongarra said of government labs. “They have to attract people based on the type of environment they can provide, in terms of the equipment they have in the space, etc. Salaries are simply not competitive with them.
  • Regulatory agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission, which itself is struggling to attract experts to keep pace with a rapidly changing tech industry, must also compete to attract talent against industry wages and benefits. private.
  • Lawmakers have tried to free up more budget for technical staff at the FTC, for example. More recently, the Algorithmic Accountability Bill of 2022 would give the FTC more technical staff to oversee enforcement related to AI and algorithmic technology.
  • Indeed, the lack of funding to hire people who understand complex technological concepts related to economic, antitrust and other technological policies has helped to allow a controversial level of involvement and influence of private sector powers. .

Despite close collaborations, sometimes tensions between researchers from the private sector and those in university and government labs come to the surface. Example: quantum dust between the White House and Google.

Ultimately, Dongarra said, government labs and scientific research could falter. if things continue like this.

  • “Labs shouldn’t be a minor league for these companies,” he said. “They need to be able to attract and retain talent. Without this cadre of young scientists, laboratories will suffer in the short term. »

-Kate Kaye (E-mail | Twitter)


Seeking to triple its employee base, Whisk, an all-remote team, sought diverse talent from a wide variety of regions through Upwork, a job marketplace that connects companies with freelance professionals and agencies around the world.

Learn more

Nvidia takes healthcare seriously

For most of its early days, tech industry insiders thought of Nvidia largely in terms of its biggest business: video game chips. But in recent years, the company has sought to challenge that impression, expanding its software effort and making big bets on the data center.

One of Nvidia’s lesser-known markets in recent years has been medical care, which is a $10 trillion industry, according to Nvidia Health Care vice president Kimberly Powell. Powell recently spoke with Protocol about the company’s efforts for an upcoming interview:

“We can make a significant contribution in the field of medical imaging and medical devices. One of the largest supercomputing and accelerated computing workloads is in the life sciences. To be able to do simulations of diseases and chemical compounds interacting and trying to stop the behavior — [it’s] doing drug discovery, mostly silicon, in a computer.

“Our charter is to say how we take these modern computing approaches of accelerated computing, artificial intelligence, computer graphics, and help the healthcare industry benefit from them.”

— Max A. Cherney (E-mail | Twitter)

Why didn’t they call it Monopoly

It’s been just over a year since Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, arguably one of the most important employees in Intel’s 53-year history, returned to the company. To celebrate the occasion, Intel has released a cute 8-bit video game called Pixel Pat, in which you take control of Intel’s “geek boss” and try to navigate a chip factory full of prizes (chip pads) and obstacles (those blob-like things that look a bit like ghosts from Pac-Man).

Along the way, you learn some “fun” facts about Intel’s history, although someone forgot to include their legal disputes with AMD and the feds. It’s a bit tricky at first, and its habit of respawning you directly over a huge chasm was kind of annoying, but give it a try this weekend.

—Tom Krazit (E-mail | Twitter)


Whisk is not alone in opening up the global marketplace to find the right kinds of employees to support its business goals. According to a study by Upwork, more than three-quarters of U.S. companies have hired remote freelancers, and more than a quarter of companies plan to go fully remote in the next five years.

Learn more

Thanks for reading – see you Monday!


Comments are closed.