The Data Science Debate

Peter Skomoroch (Skipflag), Michael Driscoll (Metamarkets), DJ Patil (White House Office of Science and Technology Policy), Toby Segaran (Google), Pete Warden (Jetpac), Amy Heineike (Quid)
Deep Data, A-B
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Join leading data scientists in debating hot issues in the profession.

Photo of Peter Skomoroch

Peter Skomoroch


I’m a data scientist and entrepreneur focused on building intelligent systems to collect information and enable better decisions. I specialize in solving hard algorithmic problems, leading cross-functional teams, and developing engaging products powered by data and machine learning. I’m currently working on a new startup based in San Francisco.

Previously, I applied my skills to the consumer internet space at LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, where I was an early member of the data science team. As Principal Data Scientist, I led data science teams focused on reputation, search, inferred identity and building data products. I was also the creator of LinkedIn Skills & LinkedIn Endorsements. Endorsements was one of the fastest growing new product features in LinkedIn’s history with over 3 billion endorsements of more than 70 million members within the first year after launch.

Before joining LinkedIn, I was Director of Analytics at Juice Analytics and a Senior Research Engineer at AOL Search. In a previous life, I developed price optimization models for Fortune 500 retailers, studied machine learning at MIT, and worked on Biodefense projects for DARPA and The Department of Defense. I have a B.S. in Mathematics and Physics from Brandeis University and research experience in Biology and Neuroscience.

Photo of Michael Driscoll

Michael Driscoll


Michael Driscoll has a decade of experience developing large-scale databases and predictive algorithms for digital media, financial, and life sciences firms. He is the CEO and co-founder at Metamarkets, and Chairman of Dataspora LLC, a big data & analytics consultancy he founded in 2007. Previously, he founded the online retailer,, and worked as a software engineer for the Human Genome Project. Michael holds a Ph.D. in Bioinformatics from Boston University and an A.B. from Harvard College.

Michael tweets at medriscoll and blogs at Data Utopian .

Photo of DJ Patil

DJ Patil

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Dr. DJ Patil joined the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in February 2015, when he was named by the White House as Chief Data Scientist and Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Data Policy. DJ advises on policies and practices to maintain U.S. leadership in technology and innovation, fosters partnerships to maximize the Nation’s return on its investment in data, and helps to attract and retain the best minds in data science to serve the public.

Since joining OSTP, DJ has collaborated with colleagues across government, including the Chief Information Officer and the U.S. Digital Service as part of the Administration’s commitment to open data and data science. He is leading data science efforts related to the Precision Medicine Initiative, which focuses on utilizing 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.

DJ joins the White House following an incredible career as a data scientist — a term he helped coin — in the public and private sectors, and in academia. Most recently, he served as the Vice President of Product at RelateIQ, which was acquired by Salesforce. DJ also previously held positions at LinkedIn, Greylock Partners, and eBay Inc, where he oversaw initiatives at eBay, PayPal, and Skype.

Prior to his work in the private sector, DJ was an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow for the Department of Defense, where he directed new efforts to bridge computational and social sciences in fields like social network analysis to help anticipate emerging threats to the United States.

As a doctoral student and faculty member at the University of Maryland, DJ used open datasets published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to make major improvements in numerical weather forecasting. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of California, San Diego, and a PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland College Park. DJ has also authored a number of influential articles and books explaining the important current and potential applications of data science. In 2014, the World Economic Forum named DJ as a Young Global Leader.

Photo of Toby Segaran

Toby Segaran


Toby Segaran is the author of the O’Reilly titles, “Programming
Collective Intelligence” and “Programming the Semantic Web” and a
contributing editor of “Beautiful Data” . He frequently speaks on the
subjects of machine learning, collective intelligence and freedom of
data at conferences worldwide.

Toby previous worked as a Senior Data Scientist at Metaweb before it
was acquired by Google in 2010. He now works on large-scale data
reconciliation problems at Google. Prior to Metaweb he founded
Incellico, a biotechnology software company which was acquired in

Toby holds a B.Sc in Computer Science from MIT and is deemed a “Person
of Exceptional Ability” by the USCIS. He loves applying data-analysis
algorithms to everything ranging from pharmaceutical trials to online
dating to financial risk models.

Photo of Pete Warden

Pete Warden


A former Apple engineer, Pete Warden is the CTO of Jetpac, and writes on large-scale data processing and visualization

Photo of Amy Heineike

Amy Heineike


Amy until recently was the Director of Mathematics at Quid, where she had been since its inception, prototyping and launching the company’s technology for analyzing document sets. A Cambridge Mathematician who previously worked in London modeling cities, Amy is fascinated by complex human systems, and the algorithms and data that help us understand them.


  • EMC
  • Microsoft
  • HPCC Systems™ from LexisNexis® Risk Solutions
  • MarkLogic
  • Shared Learning Collaborative
  • Cloudera
  • Digital Reasoning Systems
  • Pentaho
  • Rackspace Hosting
  • Teradata Aster
  • VMware
  • IBM
  • NetApp
  • Oracle
  • 1010data
  • 10gen
  • Acxiom
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Calpont
  • Cisco
  • Couchbase
  • Cray
  • Datameer
  • DataSift
  • DataStax
  • Esri
  • Facebook
  • Feedzai
  • Hadapt
  • Hortonworks
  • Impetus
  • Jaspersoft
  • Karmasphere
  • Lucid Imagination
  • MapR Technologies
  • Pervasive
  • Platform Computing
  • Revolution Analytics
  • Scaleout Software
  • Skytree, Inc.
  • Splunk
  • Tableau Software
  • Talend

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