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Rediff.com  » News » Obama appoints Indian-American DJ Patil as first US chief data scientist

Obama appoints Indian-American DJ Patil as first US chief data scientist

February 19, 2015 18:17 IST

On Wednesday, the White House named Dhanurjay ‘DJ’ Patil, 45, its first chief data scientist and deputy chief technology officer for data policy. Or simply, its chief data scientist.

Patil holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of California and a PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland and has also authored a number of influential articles and books explaining the current and potential applications of data science.

As the first US chief data scientist, Patil will help shape policies and practices to help the US remain a leader in technology and innovation.

As Chief Data Scientist, DJ will help shape policies and practices to help the US remain a leader in technology and innovation, foster partnerships to help responsibly maximise the nation’s return on its investment in data, and help to recruit and retain the best minds in data science to join us in serving the public.

DJ will also work on the Administration’s Precision Medicine Initiative, which focuses on utilising advances in data and health care to provide clinicians with new tools, knowledge, and therapies to select which treatments will work best for which patients, while protecting patient privacy.

Interestingly, the term data scientist, coined in 2008, has often been credited to Patil and Jeff Hammerbacher, who back then were leads of data and analytics efforts at LinkedIn and Facebook respectively. At LinkedIn, where he nearly worked for three years, Patil was the head of data products, chief scientist and chief security officer. According to a TechCrunch article, “as LinkedIn’s chief securiity officer, he partnered with Facebook, Google, Twitter, Zynga and others to take on hackers, spammers and fraudsters, and worked at eBay as their director of strategy, analytics and product.”

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