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Dell Announces Hiring Plan Amidst Probe

By: David Utter

The computer manufacturer scored some public relations points by announcing it will add 500 engineering jobs to its Central Texas product development group.

Dell Announces Hiring Plan Amidst ProbeIn the company of Texas Governor Rick Perry at the state capitol, (DELL) chairman Michael Dell made the hiring announcement today. The move comes as Dell has faced increased scrutiny from the SEC over its financial reporting and a recall of 4.1 million potentially hazardous notebook computer batteries.

"This year Dell will have the most technically advanced product line in our companys history," said Chairman Michael Dell. "The additional development expertise were announcing today for our Austin Design Center reflects our concept of Dell 2.0, an initiative to revitalize every part of our business with engineering excellence at its core."

Assuming Dell does fill most or all of these positions with permanent US citizens possessing advanced degrees, instead of taking a nominal number of those citizens and filling the majority with foreign workers under the federal H-1B visa program, the initiative could be a political windfall for Dell.

Texas legislators on Capitol Hill would be more likely to step up their efforts to help Dell weather the regulatory storm brewing about the company. Portraying the company as committed to making well-paying job opportunities available to highly-educated computer science majors makes criticizing Dell a little more hazardous.

Dell made another announcement today that was mostly unnoticed, but equally important from a public relations standpoint. The company will work with the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative (LONI) to create a powerful supercomputing grid. From their statement:

It will include six Dell server clusters packing 30 teraflops of computing power, or the capability to perform 30 trillion operations per second.

The interconnected system is designed to provide a significant increase in computational resources for academic research, including the ability to perform hurricane tracking and storm surge modeling with much greater speed and accuracy.

To continue recruiting new businesses to Louisiana, 10 percent of the grids computing power will be reserved for Louisiana businesses, providing supercomputing capabilities to businesses that could benefit from it.

LONIs member institutions include Louisiana State University; Louisiana Tech University; LSU Health Sciences Center " New Orleans; LSU Health Sciences Center " Shreveport; Southern University and A&M; College; Tulane University; University of Louisiana at Lafayette; and the University of New Orleans.

By the June 2006 supercomputer rankings at, Dell's cluster would rank in the top 15, just behind Japan's Earth Simulator, which was once the most powerful supercomputer in the world.


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