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Submission + - U.S. sets plan to build two exascale supercomputers (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: The U.S believes it will be ready to seek vendor proposals to build two exascale supercomputers — costing roughly $200 to $300 million each — by 2019. The two systems will be built at the same time and be ready for use by 2023, although it's possible one of the systems could be ready a year earlier, according to U.S. Department of Energy officials. The U.S. will award the exascale contracts to vendors with two different architectures. But the scientists and vendors developing exascale systems do not yet know whether President-Elect Donald Trump's administration will change directions. The incoming administration is a wild card. Supercomputing wasn't a topic during the campaign, and Trump's dismissal of climate change as a hoax, in particular, has researchers nervous that science funding may suffer. At the annual supercomputing conference SC16 last week in Salt Lake City, a panel of government scientists outlined the exascale strategy developed by President Barack Obama's administration. When the session was opened to questions, the first two were about Trump. One attendee quipped that "pointed-head geeks are not going to be well appreciated."

Submission + - Trump tapped the viral anger over H-1B use (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: President-elect Donald Trump realized early in his campaign that U.S. IT workers were angry over training foreign visa-holding replacements. He knew this anger was volcanic. Trump is the first major U.S. presidential candidate in this race — or any previous presidential race — to focus on the use of the H-1B visa to displace IT workers. He asked former Disney IT employees, upset over having to train foreign replacements, to speak at his rallies. "The fact is that Americans are losing their jobs to foreigners," said Dena Moore, a former Disney IT worker at a Trump rally in Alabama in February. "I believe Mr. Trump is for Americans first." Hillary Clinton, in an interview with Vox, said that "everybody with six degrees of separation either knows or thinks they know someone who knows somebody who lost a job to an undocumented worker or to a worker brought over on a visa to do their job. There's just a lot of churn that suggests this is a real problem." What Clinton described is the definition of viral, and she was right. For nearly 25 years, IT workers have been complaining of training their foreign replacements and the anger had indeed gone viral. Trump used that, Clinton did not.

Submission + - CEO's message jolts IT workers facing layoffs (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: IT workers in the infrastructure team at Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) were notified recently of their layoff. They expect to be training replacements from India-based contractor HCL. The layoff affects more than 500 IT workers. But this familiar IT story begins a little differently. A few days before employees were notified in mid-October of their layoff, HCSC CEO Paula Steiner talked about future goals in an internal, company-wide video. Steiner's comments weren't IT-department-specific, but the takeaway quote by one IT employee was this: "As full-time retiring baby boomers move on to their next chapter, the makeup of our organization will consist more of young and non-traditional workers, such as part-time workers or contractors," said Steiner in the video. What Steiner didn't say in the employee broadcast is that some of the baby boomers moving "on to the next chapter" are being pushed out the door. "Obviously not all of us are 'retiring' — a bunch of us are being thrown under the bus," said one older employee.

Submission + - China's new policing computer is frontend cattle prod, backend, supercomputer (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: China recently deployed what it calls a "security robot" in a Shenzhen airport. It's named AnBot and patrols around the clock. It is a cone-shaped robot that includes a cattle prod. The U.S.-China Economic and Secruity Review Commission, which look at autonomous system deployments in a report last week, said AnBot, which has facial recognition capability, is designed to be linked with China's latest supercomputers.

Submission + - DNA testing for jobs may be on its way, warns Gartner (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: It is illegal today to use DNA testing for employment, but as science advances its understanding of genes that correlate to certain desirable traits — such as leadership and intelligence — business may want this information. People seeking leadership roles in business, or even those in search of funding for a start-up, may volunteer their DNA test results to demonstrate that they have the right aptitude, leadership capabilities and intelligence for the job. This may sound farfetched, but it's possible based on the direction of the science, according to Gartner analysts David Furlonger and Stephen Smith, who presented their research Wednesday at the firm's Symposium IT/xpo in Orlando. This research is called "maverick" in Gartner parlance, meaning it has a somewhat low probability and is still years out, but its potential is nonetheless worrisome to the authors. It isn't as radical as it seems. Job selection on the basis of certain desirable genetic characteristics is already common in the military and sports. Even without testing, businesses, governments and others may use this understanding about how some characteristics are genetically determined to develop new interview methodologies and testing to help identify candidates predisposed to the traits they desire.

Submission + - Outsourced IT workers ask Sen. Feinstein for help, get form letter in return (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: A University of California IT employee whose job is being outsourced to India recently wrote Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) for help. Feinstein's office sent back a letter addressing manufacturing job losses, not IT, and offered the worker no assistance. "I am being asked to do knowledge transfer to a foreigner so they can take over my job in February of 2017," the employee, wrote in part. The employee is part of a group of 50 IT workers and another 30 contractors facing layoffs after the university hired an offshore outsourcing firm. The firm, India-based HCL, won a contract to manage infrastructure services. Since the layoffs became public, the school has posted Labor Condition Applications (LCA) notices — as required by federal law when H-1B workers are being placed. UCSF employees have seen these notices and made some available to Computerworld. They show that the jobs posted are for programmer analyst II and network administrator IV. For the existing UCSF employees, the notices were disheartening. "Many of us can easily fill the job. We are training them to replace us," said one employee who requested anonymity because he is still employed by the university.

Submission + - Google dealt setback in age bias case by judge interested in 'Googleyness' (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: An age discrimination lawsuit against Google was approved Wednesday as a '"collective action" by a federal court judge in San Jose. The decision means that certain types of software engineers, age 40 or over, who were rejected for jobs at Google since August 2014, and after an in-person interview, will be able to join the lawsuit. Thousands of others may be eligible. But this was more than an ordinary court ruling. Judge Beth Labson Freeman's ruling may be remembered for the artful flourish of its opening sentence and the challenge it seems to be delivering to Silicon Valley. "How does age factor into one's Googleyness?" Freeman wrote at the beginning of a 17-page decision that sets in motion an investigation of Google's hiring practices and corporate culture. This lawsuit was brought by two job applicants, both over the age of 40, who alleged age discrimination against Google. One of the plaintiffs, Cheryl Fillekes, a programmer, was interviewed by Google on four separate occasions, including in-person interviews, and was rejected each time.

Submission + - A U.S. election-system vendor who uses developers in Serbia (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: Voting machines are privately manufactured and developed and, as with other many other IT systems, the code is typically proprietary. The use of proprietary systems in elections has its critics. One Silicon Valley group, the Open Source Election Technology Foundation, is pushing for an election system that shifts from proprietary, vendor-owned systems to one that that is owned "by the people of the United States." One major election technology company, Dominion Voting Systems (DVS), develops its systems in the U.S. and Canada but also has an office in Belgrade, Serbia. It was recently advertising openings for four senior software developers in Belgrade. "Like many of America's largest technology companies — which develop some of the software for their products in places like Asia, India, Ireland and the Mideast — some of our software development is undertaken outside the U.S. and Canada, specifically, in Serbia, where we have conducted operations for 10 years," said firm spokesman Chris Riggall.

Submission + - Despite IT layoffs, UCal academics will stay on HCL boards (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: The dean of engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, S. Shankar Sastry, also serves on the board of HCL Technologies. This is a company that delivers IT services, and whose subsidiary, HCL America, was hired by the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF). Sastry has been on the HCL board since 2012, and reports his compensation to the university. The relationship is clearly in the open, but there is a complication. The decision to hire HCL to manage infrastructure at UCSF is bad news for about 50 of its IT employees and another 30 contractors. They will lose their jobs to the outsourcing company by the end of February after replacement training is completed. A university spokeswoman said the dean "does not know nor is a party to the details of the UCSF contract" and there is no conflict. Ron Hira, an associate professor of public policy at Howard University, said that Sastry should resign immediately from the HCL Technologies board "and donate the compensation he's received from the firm to a fund to help the U.S. workers displaced by HCL." Pradeep K. Khosla, chancellor of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), is on the board of HCL Infosystems, a firm that provides distribution and IT services for companies in India, Asia and the Middle East. His office says HCL Technologies is a legally separate firm with no association with HCL Infosystems. The two firms share the same parent company, HCL Corp.

Submission + - U of Calif. San Diego chancellor is a director of outsoucer hired by UCSF (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: The offshore outsourcing planned at the University of California's San Francisco (UCSF) campus is following a standard playbook. The affected employees expect to train their replacements as a condition of severance. Their jobs will soon be in India and they'll be out of work. But the chancellor of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Pradeep K. Khosla, may still be getting compensated by HCL Infosystems. It is one of the units of India-based HCL, the IT services contractor hired by the university. Khosla is an independent and non-executive director on the HCL Infosystems board of directors. Khosla has reported his HCL compensation to the university at $12,000 last year for 56 hours of total time served. He also earns $12,000 from Infosys Science Foundation as chair of the engineering and computer science jury, according to the compensation report. When asked if the university's contract with HCL creates a conflict for Khosla, a UCSD spokeswoman,replied: "The contract was negotiated between UCSF and HCL; it did not involve Chancellor Pradeep Khosla in any way, nor was it discussed at any HCL meeting that Chancellor Khosla attended." But the HCL contract can be leveraged by any UC campus. The "HCL agreement is UC-wide," according to notes from the university's system-wide Architecture Committee. "Other CIOs looking at UCSF experience before other folks dip in. Wait for a year before jumping in with HCL." Another issue for the university may be having an association generally with the offshore outsourcing industry, which works at displacing U.S. IT workers, including computer science grads of institutions such as the University of California.

Submission + - University of California's outsourcing is wrong, says U.S. lawmaker (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: A decision by the University of California to lay off IT employees and send their jobs overseas is under fire from U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif) and the IEEE-USA. "How are they [the university] going to tell students to go into STEM fields when they are doing as much as they can to do a number on the engineers in their employment?" said U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif). Peter Eckstein, the president of the IEEE-USA, said what the university is doing "is just one more sad example of corporations, a major university system in this case, importing non-Americans to eliminate American IT jobs." The university recently informed about 80 IT workers at its San Francisco campus, including contract employees and vendor contractors, that it hired India-based HCL, under a $50 million contract, to manage infrastructure and networking-related services. The affected employees will leave their jobs in February, after they train their contractor replacements.

Comment Re:There goes the last "safe" employer (Score 2) 618

This is what is going offshore: > HCL will provide data center monitoring and operations, server, storage, database, middleware and Citrix, as well as network operations, routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, WLAN controllers. Other services will include unified communications -- telephony, email, chat, SharePoint, audio and video conferencing -- and application maintenance for PeopleSoft, C#, .Net and Java apps. It will also provide application development augmentation services, according to the university.

Submission + - University of California hires India-based IT outsourcer, layoffs tech workers (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: The University of California is laying off a group of IT workers at its San Francisco campus as part of a plan to move work offshore. Laying off IT workers as part of a shift to offshore is somewhere between rare and unheard-of in the public sector. The layoffs will happen at the end of February, but before the final day arrives the IT employees expect to train foreign replacements from India-based IT services firm HCL. The firm is working under a university contract valued at $50 million over five years, This layoff affects 17% of UCSF's total IT staff, broken down this way: 49 IT permanent employees will lose their jobs, along with 12 contract employees and 18 vendor contractors. This number also includes 18 vacant IT positions that won't be filled, according to the university. Governments and publicly supported institutions, such as UC, have contracted with offshore outsourcers, but usually it's for new IT work or to supplement an existing project. The HCL contract with UCSF can be used by other UC campuses, which means the layoffs may expand across its 10 campuses. HCL is a top user of H-1B visa workers.

Submission + - Proposed 'social media ID, please' law met with anger (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: A plan by the U.S. government to require some foreign travelers to provide their social media IDs on key travel documents is being called by critics “ludicrous,” an “all-around bad idea,” “blatant overreach,” “desperate, paranoid heavy-handedness,” “preposterous,” “appalling,” and “un-American." That's just a sampling of the outrage. Some 800 responded to the U.S. request for comments about a proposed rule affecting people traveling from “visa waiver” countries to the U.S., where a visa is not required. This includes most of Europe, Singapore, Chile, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Travelers will be asked to provide their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and whatever other social ID you can imagine to U.S. authorities. It’s technically an “optional” request, but since it’s the government asking, critics believe travelers will fear consequences if they ignore it. People who are traveling from a country where a visa is required, such as India or China, get a security vetting when they apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate, so this proposal doesn’t apply to them. In a little twist of irony, some critics said U.S. President Obama’s proposal for foreign travelers is so bad, it must have been hatched by Donald Trump.

Submission + - With Zika, who gets to telecommute? (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: Florida’s announcement Tuesday that a locally transmitted Zika case turned up Pinellas County , which includes St. Petersburg, moves reported cases of the virus a little closer to Georgia. That’s where Maria Stephens, who is pregnant, works as a senior data research analyst. Stephens was initially skeptical about Zika and paid little attention to the headlines about it. “I don't really respond to dramatization and felt that things were possibly being blown out of proportion,” said Stephens. “I'm a statistician at heart and only listen to numbers, so when my quant-minded OB-GYN shared the figures with me, this threat became a lot more real." Zika is still so new in the U.S. it’s hard to know just how employers and employees will react. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the first mosquito-borne cases in Miami in early August. St. Petersburg is about 270 miles away. The millennial generation will likely bear the brunt of the Zika problem. Kelly McBride Folkers, a research associate at NYU Langone Medical Center, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times asking if Zika was, because of its ability to be transmitted through sex, was The Millennials’ S.T.D.

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