Alasdair Allan

Alasdair Allan
Co-founder, The Thing System, Inc.

Website | @aallan

Alasdair Allan is a Scientist, Author, Hacker and Tinkerer, and co-founder of a startup working on fixing the Internet of Things.

He is the author of a number of books, and from time to time he also stands in front of cameras. You can often find him at conferences talking about interesting things, or deploying sensors to measure them. He recently rolled out a mesh network of five hundred sensors motes covering the entire of Moscone West during Google I/O. He’s still recovering.

He sporadically writes blog posts about things that interest him, or more frequently provides commentary in 140 characters or less. He is a contributing editor for MAKE magazine, and a contributor to the O’Reilly Radar.

A few years ago he caused a privacy scandal by uncovering that your iPhone was recording your location all the time. This caused several class action lawsuits and a U.S. Senate hearing. Several years on, he still isn’t sure what to think about that.

Alasdair is a former academic. As part of his work he built a distributed peer-to-peer network of telescopes which, acting autonomously, reactively scheduled observations of time-critical events. Notable successes included contributing to the detection of±what was at the time—the most distant object yet discovered, a gamma-ray burster at a redshift of 8.2.

Sessions

Location: King's Suite
Alasdair Allan (The Thing System, Inc.)
Average rating: ****.
(4.54, 13 ratings)
Big data isn't just multi-terabyte datasets hidden inside eventually-concurrent distributed databases in the cloud. It’s also about the hidden data you carry with you all the time, data that is generated for you and about you, but not necessarily by you. Hidden data, your data, carrying on its secret life without your knowledge, but with your implicit and implied consent. Read more.
Data Science
Location: Room 1-6
Alasdair Allan (The Thing System, Inc.), Zena Wood (University of Exeter)
Average rating: ****.
(4.33, 3 ratings)
Observing how other humans interact is so interesting that we do it recreationally, we call it "people watching". Evolution has equipped us both with a desire to people watch, and with the tools we need to do it, but it's hard to describe what it is we're doing. If we could, we could make our machines people watch for us, potentially yielding novel insights into our own social interactions. Read more.

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