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Our friends at insideHPC pushed this story recently, but there hasn’t been an accompanying groundswell of buzz, so I’m bringing it to The Register’s audience in an attempt to get the ball rolling.

Mattel, purveyor of the iconic Barbie doll, is running a contest to decide Barbie’s next career. She has quite a wide range of choices for her new job, including surgeon, architect, environmentalist, news anchor, and computer engineer.

Barbie’s engineering specialty isn’t specified; we’re not sure if she’ll be outfitted as an ASIC designer, I/O specialist, or systems architect, to name a few options. I’m betting that, if asked what kind of computer engineer Barbie might be, Mattel would respond, “A cute and stylish one, with long legs and an enormous chest.”

Much of the profit in the Barbie biz is in the accessories, not in the doll itself. So what kind of kit would there be? This is where “Computer Engineer Barbie” needs the most help.

It’s easy to imagine a whole set of clothing and other gear that could be sold alongside “News Anchor Barbie” and “Doctor Barbie.” Even “Environmentalist Barbie” could have various shovels, rakes, tiny protest signs, and even tinier markers for writing slogans on the signs.

But what would you sell with “Computer Engineer Barbie?” On the clothing front, not that much. But if we use our imaginations, we can construct an entire exciting environment that could be peddled for big bucks...Barbie’s cubicle, complete with a worn-out chair, a PC, and various types of cube litter, like candy wrappers and empty cans of Red Bull. Or perhaps her own compute cluster, with a pink paint job and heart stickers. Upgrades would include adding more nodes, of course – and, over time, increasing the network bandwidth. Pretty exciting and compelling stuff, right?

To make Computer Engineer Barbie a reality, we need to vote, people. Of all the career choices listed, I’d argue that computer engineers have brought about more positive change than any of the alternatives on the ballot. Computer engineers deserve to have their own Barbie. Make it happen: vote here. The winning occupation is announced on February 12.

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