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Intel Education The Almighty Buck Science

Intel Drops Support For Science Talent Search 115

An anonymous reader writes: Started by Westinghouse Electric, the Science Talent Search (STS) has for 73 years been the nation's oldest and most prestigious science competition for high school students. Intel has been sponsoring the competition since 1998 at an annual cost of approximately ~$6M, representing 0.01 of the company's $56B revenue last year. Intel's abrupt decision to cancel sponsorship of this beloved and venerable institution is baffling to students and educators the world over. Former STS finalists include inventor Ray Kurzweil and physicist Brian Greene.
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Intel Drops Support For Science Talent Search

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  • ... then this cannot be any good. Time to terminate it. We really do not need more cretins with huge visions and zero understanding of how things actually work.

    • I don't think you're allowed to criticise Kurzweil here. The argument that someone can have produced excelent software, but be an idiot in every other imaginable way, does not compute in the slashdot binary hive mind.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    An opportunity for Apple, Google or Microsoft to step forward...?

  • by sithkhan ( 536425 ) <sithkhan@gmail.com> on Thursday September 10, 2015 @08:15AM (#50493835)
    $300 million? Oh, that's right, the executive who pushed Intel this direction is leaving now. Here's her announcement to leave: https://archive.is/egdkd [archive.is] Here's her announcement for the Diversity Program. https://archive.is/YYbrY [archive.is] Here's where that $300 million came from: https://archive.is/EIqxl [archive.is]
    • Moderators, please, this is not a troll: not even if you do not like what it says.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      From your third link: "Intel may be planning layoffs based on poor outlook for PC industry in 2015"

      So somehow less revenue from the PC industry creates £300m to pay for a diversity programme. I think your logic may have a flaw.

    • by SunTzuWarmaster ( 930093 ) on Thursday September 10, 2015 @09:18AM (#50494309) Homepage

      The above paints a (probably accurate) picture that Intel is cutting $300M in R&D and starting $300M in Diversity Initiatives. The STS highlights "Independent individual [student] research", and is (likely) funded out of the R&D budget. It seems like a pretty clear message of valuing genitalia/pigmentation above talent/competence. I disagree with this corporate value stance, but it is not my company.

      I really hate to think of the R&D scientists/engineers who will be laid off, go without equipment, or be unable to investigate new projects because the company believes that more representatives having certain genitalia or pigmentation should instead be subsidized. Doubly so for student researchers (bearing the wrong genitalia or pigmentation).

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Thursday September 10, 2015 @11:12AM (#50495531) Homepage Journal

        The above paints a (probably accurate) picture that Intel is cutting $300M in R&D and starting $300M in Diversity Initiatives.

        It doesn't say that at all. For a start it's not even comparing the same things. $300M for diversity is a one-off cost, $300M from R&D is a repeating cost year on year.

        Also note that Intel has just bid $16.7Bn (with a B) for Altera. Sounds like they are pivoting away from desktop and into other areas, rather than simply diverting money. If anything is sucking money away from R&D it's probably the fact that they just bought a company with a huge R&D department.

        • by Raenex ( 947668 )

          It doesn't say that at all. For a start it's not even comparing the same things. $300M for diversity is a one-off cost, $300M from R&D is a repeating cost year on year.

          How do you know the diversity initiative isn't year to year? I haven't seen it stated either way. Don't you find it just a little bit suspect that $300 million was cut from one area while $300 million was announced for another initiative?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Gnaanp! Growlel hgnaglers! You hate women you cis sexist hetro white racist male nerd. This triggers me. Slashdot is supporting rape culture by allowing moderators to promote this kind of misogyny. Please donate to my patreon to help fight this oppression and exclusionsary hate towards woymen of all colors.

    • How Common Is This? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kunedog ( 1033226 ) on Thursday September 10, 2015 @09:28AM (#50494435)
      After the Gnome Foundation said they were out of money, it was revealed that they had blown a huge chunk of the budget on "women's outreach" [slashdot.org] instead of developing software. The top dog (Karen Sandler) departed soon after.

      Will companies ever get savvy enough to detect these ideologues before it's too late, or will they do a lot more damage in the future? We've all seen what's happened at Reddit . . .
    • When it comes to diversity, reasoning goes out the window.

      None of the links you posted shows a causal link between Intel's Diversity Initiatives and ending support for the science fair.

      Do you actually believe Intel could not afford $306M for both programs?

      TFA itself quotes the reason Intel dropped the funding. Intel wants to focus on more "applied" programs...

      Mr. Barrett said. “But they appear to be more interested in applied things, like” Maker Faire, an all-ages event that showcases homema

  • irrelevant (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Thursday September 10, 2015 @08:32AM (#50493941) Journal

    Intel has been sponsoring the competition since 1998 at an annual cost of approximately ~$6M, representing 0.01 of the company's $56B revenue last year

    If we're going to be on a website where people presumably understand basic math, can we at least use the relevant number? Revenue is not money that a company can use freely......most of it goes to paying for supplies, paying employees, etc.

    A more relevant number is profit, that tells you how much money a company has after paying the bills. Another interesting number might be the advertising budget, since that's kind of what Intel is doing there.

    • By their own word [intel.com], revenue was $55.9 billion, and net income was $11.7 billion, so it's 0.05% of their net income.
      • And it's probably a smaller percentage than that, since it probably counts as a tax deduction.
        • And it's probably a smaller percentage than that, since it probably counts as a tax deduction.

          Any expense is a "tax deduction" in the sense that it reduces your taxable profits.

          Example. Tax rate is 30%. Your company makes $2000 operating profit. You pay the government $600 tax and are left with $1400 profit to distribute, invest or whatever.

          If you decide to make a further allowable payment of $1200, you then pay tax of $240 [30% of 2000 - 1200] leaving you with $560 profit [2000 - 1200 - 240] to distribute or invest.

          Unless your marginal tax rate is over 100% it just means you're paying your

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "Revenue is not money that a company can use freely......most of it goes to paying for supplies, paying employees, etc."

      Well it can use it freely, and that's kind of the point, it can spend it on what it likes, including spending $6m on competitions, and the things you mention like paying suppliers and so forth.

      Profit is effectively what's left after expenditure for that particular accounting period, if you spend any of that on something like a competition in a particular accounting period, then it's no lon

      • Well it can use it freely, and that's kind of the point, it can spend it on what it likes,

        It really can't.....if someone builds Intel a $4billion fab, and Intel decides not to pay, then Intel will not be in business very long, and possibly will have execs in jail afterwards. In a typical company, most revenue goes towards paying employees, suppliers, and such. In a lot of companies, a good chunk of it goes to advertising. Usually only a small percentage of revenue is available for discretionary purposes, but it varies widely by industry.

  • the diversity funds. $300 million in feel good money. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01... [nytimes.com]
  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Thursday September 10, 2015 @09:26AM (#50494407)

    “It’s such a premier event in terms of young people and technology,” Mr. Barrett said. “But they appear to be more interested in applied things, like” Maker Faire, an all-ages event that showcases homemade engineering projects.

    I see everyone jumping on the diversity bandwagon as an explanation, but I'm guessing one of the reasons they're not supporting this anymore is that it doesn't fit with their business model anymore. To a layman, technology is more about apps and social media now than the solid state electronics, physics and chemistry needed to power it. Of course, no one thinks about the fact that these fundamentals will have to keep advancing if we want cheaper, faster, smaller computers and phones to run those apps on. This is a pretty clear signal that Intel is an engineering company, not a science company.

    Corporate basic research is pretty much dead now unfortunately -- Bell Labs is a tiny sliver of what it was, HP is almost entirely product-focused now, and who knows what's going on with IBM. Things like this, plus the fact that scientists are entering a shrinking market and treated badly, are only going to serve to reduce the number of students interested in science. US science students are seeing a lot of the same things IT workers are seeing now -- foreign students willing to work for any wage just to get the opportunity to study here, the slow demise of permanent solid employment, and a general lack of interest by the public.

    It's going to take something like the Chinese colonizing Mars and extracting all its natural resources before a Soviet-style space race shocks the US out of its disinterest in science. This was one of the only good things to come out of the Cold War -- look how many state university systems were built up in the 60s and 70s and how much research got funded without griping about the cost.

    • It's going to take something like the Chinese colonizing Mars and extracting all its natural resources before a Soviet-style space race shocks the US out of its disinterest in science.

      Don't you know, America would be foolish to worry about home-grown talent. We will just import all of our talent from the rest of the world, allowing our lazyass native-born children to become rich off of the hard work of others!

      This was one of the only good things to come out of the Cold War -- look how many state university systems were built up in the 60s and 70s and how much research got funded without griping about the cost

      In all seriousness, do you think there is any correlation between these two things? The government starts spending massive amounts of money on research funding and corporate funding for research dries up. Look at the timeframes involved. Chicken or egg?

      • by afidel ( 530433 )

        Don't you know, America would be foolish to worry about home-grown talent. We will just import all of our talent from the rest of the world, allowing our lazyass native-born children to become rich off of the hard work of others!

        Yeah, except both parties have made legal immigration harder, made it harder for college grads to stay after their education is done, and made it easier to outsource work through free trade agreements. I've been saying for years that the answer to the H1B program isn't to have fewer

    • See subject: Most U.S. Citizens have benefitted by economies of scale in computers (PC's primarily, from which smartphone toys even get their coding done) & them becoming easily affordable by most!

      Thus, "the common man" has access to the tools needed to create software...

      (Much easier & readily available access @ HOME no less, right off the bat, vs. full-blown electronics labs with HIGHER END componentry + toolsets for it).

      APK

      P.S.=> That's my take on your statement - do consider it... apk

    • by labradore ( 26729 ) on Thursday September 10, 2015 @03:47PM (#50498355)

      Yes. Intel is an Engineering company. And it's a science company.

      Have you looked into how a fab works? How semiconductors work? Chipmakers depend more directly upon using and advancing science than possibly any other industry. Oil and gas companies possibly come close. Advancing the state of the chip making art is not about recombining well-known facts of physics in clever ways or managing complexity more creatively (though that's part of it). It's about finding and using new discoveries with science and making use of them at scale. Every technology node ("transistor shrink") requires advancing the limits of manufacturing for thousands of processes. Intel has armies of people trained purely in physics, chemistry, materials science, etc. solving the problems of reliably scaling the manufacture of things that just couldn't be made even just a few years ago.

      Yes, they have suppliers who make very specialized equipment. These guys are ostensibly even closer to the "science". But, none of this really works without a lot of cooperation.

      Let's be clear: Intel's profits shrink fast if science doesn't advance.

      Funding STS is just about the most appropriate thing for these guys to do.

    • and who knows what's going on with IBM.

      IBM has a huge research department that involves biologists, doctors, and materials scientists. Microsoft has a huge fundamental research department too, although it focuses on computer science research. Qualcomm has a very exciting research program, but only if you're interested in obscure radio wave details.

      Fundamental research really isn't as dead as you think, although Bell labs is a truly sad story.

  • Why has it taken 18 MONTHS to start looking for another sponsor?

  • Westinghouse^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HIntel^H^H^H^H^HGeeks Of The World Science Talent Search

    Where do I send my contribution?

  • Craig Barrett was a big proponent of education and was the CEO when Intel submitted its bid to take over sponsor the Science Talent Search. Now that he's out of the picture, the new folks in charge probably just lost interest.

  • by gnaarly ( 4078217 ) on Thursday September 10, 2015 @02:21PM (#50497485)
    Intel just spent $300 million on a "diversity drive". But $6m for a race-and-gender-neutral science talent search was too much for them.

    Of course, there's a radical subset of the population who hates that I point this out.
  • to not work for one of these giant corporations. These places are up to their collective asses in political correctness and "diversity". Policies that are seriously diluting their talent pool. When you abandon traditional hiring practices of picking the best person for the job and instead pick a certain quota from group A and a certain quota from group B it is bound to happen.

    It's no wonder that the real talent is working for small companies or going independent or just starting their own company.

    On the oth

    • Ah yes, the great "quota" myth.

      If it was actually true, then slightly over 50% of all employees at any level would be women.

      • "Ah yes, the great "quota" myth." - Is it? Have a look at this -> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        From the article..."In 2012, the European Union Commission approved a plan for women to constitute 40% of non-executive board directorships in large listed companies in Europe by 2020". That sure looks like a quota to me.

        And this "In 2003, a Supreme Court decision regarding affirmative action in higher education (Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 US 244 – Supreme Court 2003) permitted educational institutions

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