Data and Campaigns: A Conversation with Obama For America Chief Scientist Rayid Ghani

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In a connected, social world, honing the effectiveness of campaign efforts with data is critical. In this Q&A discussion, we’ll look behind the scenes to see how data science is changing the face of campaigning, where the opportunities are, and what resistance and constraints candidates face.

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Rayid Ghani

Edgeflip | University of Chicago

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.

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Picture of Matthew Frei
Matthew Frei
02/26/2013 4:39am PST

Has your experience working with big data in the political world taught you anything that might help a group like the Pew Research Center use similar tools to educate the public about politics and society?

Picture of Dana Zuber
Dana Zuber
02/26/2013 4:09am PST

Has using data to “optimize” politics contributed to the huge polarization that we’ve seen in th US?


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