There are plenty of problems in the world that could use a little insight. From poverty, to starvation, to the fair distribution of resources, to maximizing charitable donations, a little data, properly applied, goes a long way. In this session, Edgeflip and Data Science for the Social Good’s Rayid Ghani, IA Ventures Scientist-in-residence and Datakind co-founder Drew Conway, and Datakind co-founder and executive director Jake Porway look at where data is making a difference today, what it promises tomorrow, and what’s holding it back.
Jake Porway is a machine learning and technology enthusiast who loves nothing more than seeing good values in data. He is the founder and executive director of DataKind, an organization that brings together leading data scientists with high impact social organizations to better collect, analyze, and visualize data in the service of humanity. Jake was most recently the data scientist in the New York Times R&D lab and remains an active member of the data science community, bringing his technical experience from his past work with groups like NASA, DARPA, Google, and Bell Labs to bear on the social sector. Jake’s work has been featured in leading academic journals and conferences (PAMI, ICCV), the Guardian, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and he has been honored as a 2011 PopTech Social Innovation Fellow and a 2012 National Geographic Emerging Explorer. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Columbia University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Statistics from UCLA.
Drew Conway is an expert in the application of computational methods to social and behavioral problems at large-scale. Drew has been writing and speaking about the role of data — and the discipline of data science — in industry, government, and academia for several years. Drew has advised and consulted companies across many industries; ranging from fledgling start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, as well as academic institutions and federal agencies. Drew is a co-founder of DataKind (non-profit connecting social organizations with data scientist), the author of Machine Learning for Hackers (O’Reilly Media, 2012), a co-chair of the DataGotham conference, and is currently serving as the Scientist-in-Residence at IA Ventures. Drew is also completing his doctoral work in the Department of Politics at New York University. Prior to graduate school, Drew worked in the U.S. Intelligence Community in Washington, DC. There, he was an all-sources analyst specializing in the mathematical modeling of social systems.
Rayid Ghani is a Research Director and Senior Fellow at the Computation Institute and the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. He is also the co-founder of Edgeflip, an analytics and social media startup that is focused on helping non-profits, advocacy groups, and charities do better fundraising, volunteer recruiting, outreach and advocacy. Previously, Rayid was the Chief Scientist for the Obama 2012 Election Campaign focusing on analytics, data, and technology.
Rayid is currently focused on using data, analytics (and other related buzzwords ) for social causes, both with Edgeflip and the University of Chicago. Rayid created and runs the Eric & Wendy Schmidt “Data Science for Social Good” Summer Fellowship which brings together aspiring data scientists to work on data science projects in partnership with governments and non-profits. In his spare time, Rayid advises several startups and non-profits and speaks at, attends, and organizes academic and industry analytics conferences.
Elena Eneva is a Data Scientist at Accenture (before it was fashionable to be one) using and developing Data Science methods with a focus on Healthcare. Prior to Accenture, Elena worked at Yahoo! on Machine Learning for fraud detection and marketing. She did her graduate studies in Machine Learning from Carnegie Mellon University and got her B.A in Computer Science from University of the South: Sewanee.
Last summer, Elena took a sabbatical to be a mentor at the Data Science for Social Good Summer Fellowship at the University of Chicago. She led several teams of fellows, working on projects in healthcare (with Northshore Hospital) and disaster relief (with Ushahidi), and developed open source solutions for predicting cardiac arrests and analyzing crowdsourced data during disasters and other high impact events. Besides sciencing with data, she is generally passionate about “social good” and works with community organizations involved in education, the arts, and the environment.
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