SCHULMAN | Quantum Computers Are Game Changing

It’s okay if you don’t know the difference between quantum computer and a flux capacitor. Even if quantum computing seems complicated, its implications are easy to understand. Although they sound like something out of a sci-fi novel, these things are going to change the world. Quantum computers are going to revolutionize our ability to predict complicated phenomena. Quantum computers are good at modeling complicated things because they exploit quantum uncertainty, the principle that an electron can be in two states at once.

SCHULMAN | “When a Wave Comes, Go Deep”

The future of journalism is murkier than Beebe lake this time of year. As a writer for the college paper, I’ve been thinking about this a lot (along with the rest of the folks here). I’ve also been considering this because journalism’s future hinges on two subjects I think about often: economics and computer science. My thoughts on the issue encapsulate two ideas I’ve been writing about all semester. First, scarcity motivates so many of our daily decisions.

SUSSER | Making Something Out of Nothing

Having grown up in New York City, where supermarkets are sized proportionally to the apartments they aim to stock, I am always overwhelmed by mega-stores such as Wegmans. These interminable warehouses are large and disorienting in their ambitious goal to meet the complete needs of the shopper. They test my self-control. I’d like to think of myself as a fairly financially prudent person. But sometimes, my shopping cart is stocked with food and drinks I hadn’t dreamed of purchasing before stepping foot into this fruit-bearing maze.

Prof. Kaushik Basu, economics, describes adjusting to life in India.

Professor Recounts Years As Chief Economic Advisor for Indian Government

Swiftly moving from Cornell professor to Chief Economic Advisor of the Indian government was a unique but challenging transition, Prof. Kaushik Basu, economics, recounted. Baru, senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank, described his life story at a talk Thursday. Basu said that his recently published book, An Economist in the Real World — which discusses economic policy development — was only written because he kept a detailed diary during his tenure as Indian CEA from 2009 to 2012. According to Basu, his sudden appointment to the CEA’s office and entry into economic policymaking was a somewhat traumatic experience for him. “The interaction between the world of talk and the world of action doesn’t happen so neatly.

HARDIN | Calculating Happiness

Since 2012, the United Nations has commissioned three publications of The World Happiness Report, a comprehensive annual report published by Columbia University’s Earth Institute, directed by economist Jeffrey Sachs. With the advent of internationally comparable data measuring subjective well-being and happiness, the reports propose an approach to public policy that focuses not only on increasing individual wealth, but also on improving other factors that contribute to life satisfaction, such as political freedom, social networks and a lack of corruption. People report the highest levels of happiness in Northern European countries like Denmark and Finland, while the countries with the lowest levels of happiness are all in Sub-Saharan Africa. These reports fall under the domain of happiness economics, a growing field of study that takes a theoretical as well as a quantitative approach to measure happiness, quality of life and well-being by combining economic concepts with related fields such as psychology and sociology. In the neoliberal era, roughly characterized as a period of relaxed economic regulations in the wake of the 1980s and onward, humans have become actors in the market economy and every action is commoditized.

The word "Excelsior" — New York's official motto, meaning "ever upward" —  is inscribed above the entrance to Mann Library (pictured). The library serves two of Cornell's contract colleges — CALS and human ecology.

$500M State Grant Will Enable New Cornell Projects

Cornell University will become involved in multiple projects backed by a $500 million grant from the New York Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Dec. 10. The Southern Tier region, which includes Tompkins County and Cornell University, will receive $100 million each year for the next five years “to support critically needed investments in the economic health of [the] region,” according to President Elizabeth Garrett. “The upstate revitalization strategy puts a focus on the colleges and universities of the region.” —Mary Opperman
Garrett spoke of how the plan will focus on the Southern Tier’s “culture of scientific and economic innovation” and how it will benefit the region. “The plan’s focus on advanced manufacturing and transportation assets leverages the strengths of engineering programs at Cornell and Binghamton, and builds upon the region’s long and storied manufacturing history,” Garrett said in the statement.

Provost Explores the Causes of Racial Economic Disparity

Deputy Provost and Sociology Professor David Harris felt that previous books correlating race and poverty failed to accurately and completely identify the mechanisms that lead to the existing socioeconomic race disparities. To address these shortcomings, he wrote a book entitled The Colors of Poverty: Why Racial and Ethnic Disparities Exist. During a lecture yesterday, Harris discussed the analysis of his book as well as how it was composed.
As deputy provost, Harris focuses on University diversity, admissions and financial aid. Harris is also responsible for enhancing the profile of social sciences at the University.