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My CSE  Erroneous NRC Ranking Data for UW CSE
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The NRC assessment of UW Computer Science & Engineering is based on clearly erroneous data. The assessment is meaningless, and in no way representative of the accomplishments of UW CSE. Errors in the data affect (at least) UW CSE, many other computer science programs nationally, and many programs in other fields at the University of Washington.

During the week of September 19th, NRC provided pre-release access to its long-delayed "Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States," scheduled for public release during the week of September 26th.

We, along with colleagues in other computer science programs nationally and colleagues in programs in other fields at the University of Washington, quickly discovered significant flaws of three types in NRC's data:

Here are three specific examples affecting UW CSE:

The University of Washington reported these issues to NRC when the pre-release data was made available, and asked NRC to make corrections prior to public release. NRC declined to do so (with the exception of the one bug-fix noted above). We and others detected and reported many other anomalies and inaccuracies in the data during the pre-release week.

The widespread availability of the badly flawed pre-release data within the academic community, and NRC's resolve to move forward with the public release of this badly flawed data, have caused us and others to urge caution - hence this statement. For our program - and surely for many others - the NRC assessment is based on data that is clearly erroneous. The results are meaningless.

Statement from the Computing Research Association: "CRA has serious concerns about the accuracy and consistency of the data being used in the evaluation of the Computer Science discipline."

Statement from the University of Washington College of Engineering: "We we are greatly concerned by clear inaccuracies in the data used in the report."

Statement on "Faculty Awards" from UW Computer Science & Engineering: "Moving beyond the significant flaws in award selection and classification, one quickly arrives at the sorts of data inaccuracies that plague other aspects of the NRC assessment."

Commentary by Stephen Stigler, Scott Aaronson, Sariel Har-Peled.

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[comments to Hank Levy]