A couple of things are happening here.

First, there is absolutely a downturn in the number of students in the US pursuing technical degrees. Americans are not encouraged to go into it, and post-9/11 it is much tougher for foreigners to get student visas to come study here.

Second, while the downturn is most prevalent in computer science, it turns out that there is as much computer science going on in American universities as there ever was -- it just ins't going on in the CS departments. It's happening in biology, physics, cehmistry, astronomy -- across all of the sciences, as well as the social sciences. Computing has migrated to the places where it is needed the most and will have the most impact.

Third, the upper middle class and upper classes in the US think of computing as a "trade school" thing, and actively discourage their kids from pursuing it. Tour the high schools in the Northeast -- the best computer labs and programs are in the large public high schools, and the prep schools have meager computer equipment. There is a strong message being delivered here. It's also nothing new: as a CS major at Dartmouth, I can tell you firsthand that it was class warfare.

Fourth, China and India have no such misconceptions, and are actively growing their computer science degree programs. And the growth rate is tremendous.

The bottom line: if computing moves offshore, and computing research follows, we have no one to blame but ourselves. It will be our own short-sightedness that got us into this. And since computing is now an essential part of all of the sciences, expect the rest of the sciences to follow suit. Outsourcing isn't a statement about cheap labor; it's a statement about the value that we place upon particular disciplines and whether we see them as integral to our economy, our society, and our future.