The Land of Oz Ozzie Liu

Dr. Kirk Borne speaks at NYC Open Data

On Wednesday, I went to NYC Open Data Meetup where Dr. Kirk Borne spoke. This guy’s literally a genius. Right now he’s the Principal Data Scientist at Booz Allen Hamilton. He has a PhD in Astrophysics, taught at George Mason University and worked with large scale data systems for decades, including 18 at NASA. He talked extensively about data science, but here’s a snippet of my notes:

Dr. Borne gave the packed room a comprehensive overview of his background and how data science is used today for profit and for good.

He walked through supervised learning and unsupervied learning with some great and funny examples. For example, can you think of the first unsupervised clustering ever done? Even before big data? The periodic table of elements! By observing atomic number, electron configurations, and recurring chemical properties, scientists were able to piece together the incredible period table that we know today.

He also mentioned serveral metrics to measure clustering algorithms that I will have to look into:

The goal of data science is to take Data and transform into information, knowledge, insight, and action. And that means:

  • From Sensors (Measurements and data collections)
  • to Sentinels (Monitoring and alerts)
  • to Sense Making (Data Science)
  • to Cents Making (Business ROI)

In other words, he used 3 D2Ds to describe data science:

  • Data to discoveries
  • Data to decisions
  • Data to dollars (return on innovation)
  • And of course, Data for good

At the end, he shared about the annual Data Science Bowl sponsored by Booz Allen. Just as there’s a spelling bee or geography bee, Booz Allen wanted to spread awareness of data literacy and use data science for good.

Last year’s competition looked at classifying ocean plankton with image recognition. This year it’s about identifying declining cardiac function. Check it out at www.datasciencebowl.com

Some more information on Dr. Borne:

Update 3/7/2016

After the meeting, I tweeted Kirk and asked him to reiterate the “7 C’s” he mentioned that make a good data scientist. He just responded to me this weekend with 3 additional C’s!:

And to reiterate, the “10 Seas (C’s)” with my notes are:

  1. Curious - Asking the right questions
  2. Creative - Think outside the box
  3. Courageous - Willing to “rock the boat” or fail
  4. Cool under pressure
  5. Continuous life-long learner - new technologies and tools
  6. Communicator - Tell compelling story with data
  7. Collaborative - Work well in a team setting
  8. Critical Thinker
  9. Computational
  10. Consultative