"Last week I had the opportunity to spend some time with a
friend, someone I've known since ninth grade. I hadn't seen him for
close to 30 years, because he has spent most of that time in
Russia, working for the U.S. government.
"Because he is still with the government and because his views
are his own, I cannot give his name -- nor, probably, would it
matter to you, anyway. But during our long conversation, we
discussed the state of desktop computing in Russia and the other
former Soviet Socialist Republics.
"'The first thing you should recognize,' he told me, 'is that
the level of training in mathematics and the theoretical sciences
is far greater on average there than it is in the United States. I
have had friends come here to pursue graduate studies and report to
me that the average American college graduate knows about as much
science and math as the average Russian high school