Data prediction competitions: What Archimedes and Roger Bannister can teach us about the business of data

Jeremy Howard (Enlitic)
Location: Sutton North Level: Non-technical
Average rating: *****
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‘Crowdsourcing big data’ might sound like a randomly generated selection of buzz words, but it turns out to represent a powerful leap forward in the accuracy of predictive analytics. As companies and researchers are fast discovering, data prediction competitions provide a unique opportunity for advancing the state of the art in fields as diverse as astronomy, health care, insurance pricing, sports ratings systems and tourism forecasting. This session will focus not simply on the mechanics of data prediction competitions, but on why they work so effectively. As it turns out, the ‘why’ boils down to a couple of simple propositions, one associated with Archimedes and the other with world record-breaking sprinter Roger Bannister. Those propositions are not unique to the world of data science, but, as this session will show, have a particularly compelling application to it.

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Jeremy Howard


Jeremy Howard is a serial entrepreneur, business strategist, developer, and educator. He is the CEO of Enlitic, a startup he founded to use recent advances in machine learning to transform the practice of medicine and bring modern medical diagnostics to billions of people in the developing world for the first time. He is the youngest faculty member at Singularity University, where he teaches data science, and is also a Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum.

Previously, Jeremy was the president and chief scientist of Kaggle, a community and competition platform for over 150,000 data scientists. Before working at Kaggle, he was the top-ranked participant in data science competitions globally in 2010 and 2011. He founded two successful Australian startups (the email provider FastMail and the insurance-pricing algorithm company Optimal Decisions Group), both of which were sold to large international companies. He started his career in management consulting, working at the world’s most exclusive firms, including McKinsey & Co and AT Kearney—becoming the youngest engagement manager worldwide, and building a new global practice in what is now called big data.

Jeremy is a keen student. To give one example, he developed a new system for learning Chinese, through which he gained usable Chinese language skills in just one year. Jeremy has mentored and advised many startups and is also an angel investor. He has contributed to a range of open source projects as a developer and was a regular expert guest on Australia’s most popular TV morning news program.


  • Aster Data
  • EMC Greenplum
  • GE
  • Lexis Nexis
  • MarkLogic
  • Tableau Software
  • Cloudera
  • DataStax
  • Informatica
  • DataSift
  • Splunk
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Datameer
  • Impetus
  • Karmasphere
  • MapR Technologies
  • Pervasive
  • Platform Computing
  • Revolution Analytics
  • Sybase
  • Xeround
  • Media-Science
  • Platfora

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