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New York City: A Data Science Mecca

Moderated by:
Steve Lohr (The New York Times | Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia University)
Chris Wiggins (hackNY/Columbia), Yann LeCun (NYU), Deborah Estrin (Cornell NYC Tech)
Data Science Beekman Parlor - Sutton North
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New York city has benefited from
new Data Science initiatives from three major research
universities. All of these reflect
the commitment of NYC researchers, faculty,
and the NYC government to the future of NYC
as a home for data science. This panel includes
representatives from Columbia’s Institute for
Data Sciences and Engineering, NYU’s new Center
for Data Science, and Cornell NYC Tech, to discuss
the context for establishing these centers for
training the next generations of NYC Data Scientists
and their respective plans to build a strong and
sustained data science ecosystem in NYC.

Photo of Steve  Lohr

Steve Lohr

The New York Times | Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia University

Steve Lohr reports on technology, business and economics. He was a foreign correspondent for the Times for a decade and served brief stints as an editor, before covering technology, starting in the early 1990s.

In 2013, he was part of the team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting “for its penetrating look into business practices by Apple and other technology companies that illustrates the darker side of a changing global economy for workers and consumers.”

He has written for magazines including The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly and The Washington Monthly. He is the author of a history of computer programming, “Go To: The Story of the Math Majors, Bridge Players, Engineers, Chess Wizards, Maverick Scientists and Iconoclasts — The Programmers Who Created the Software Revolution” (Basic Books, 2001; paperback, 2002). Read more, here.

Chris Wiggins


Chris Wiggins is co-founder of hackNY and an associate professor of applied mathematics at Columbia University.
and is also a founding member of Columbia’s Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (C2B2).

His research focuses on applications of machine learning to real-world data,His research is at the intersection of data science and the natural sciences, particularly biology.

This includes inference, analysis, and organization of naturally-occurring networks; statistical inference applied to time-series data; applications of information theory and optimization in biological networks; and large-scale sequence informatics in computational biology.

He originally moved to NYC in 1989 to attend Columbia.

Prior to joining the faculty at Columbia he was a Courant Instructor at NYU and earned his PhD at Princeton University.

Since 2001 he has also held appointments as a visiting scientist at Institut Curie (Paris), the Hahn-Meitner Institut (Berlin), and the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (Santa Barbara).
At Columbia he serves as the faculty advisor for the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), the Columbia Data Science Society (CDSS), as well as the Application Development Initiative (ADI).

He is a founding member of the Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering (IDSE), serving on the Executive Committee, the Entrepreneurship Committee, and as Advisor to the Education Committee in forming the IDSE Curriculum and a Certificate program.

He is also co-founder of, whose programs have introduced hundreds of students to New York City’s growing venture-backed startup environment.

He was awarded the Avanessians Diversity Award in recognition of his work enhancing diversity in departmental, school, and university programs at Columbia in 2007.

He has served as a mentor during each of the Techstars NYC programs.

Photo of Yann LeCun

Yann LeCun


Yann LeCun is a computer science researcher with contributions in machine learning, computer vision, mobile robotics and computational neuroscience. He is well known for his work on optical character recognition and computer vision using convolutional neural networks. He is also one of the main creators of the DjVu image compression technology (together with Léon Bottou and Patrick Haffner). He co-developed the Lush programming language with Léon Bottou.

Photo of Deborah Estrin

Deborah Estrin

Cornell NYC Tech

Deborah Estrin, PhD, is Professor of Computer Science at UCLA, and co-Director of a new non-profit, Estrin is known as a thought leader in the innovative application of wireless and mobile technologies. Ongoing projects include self-monitoring applications in support of health and wellness and Participatory Sensing campaigns for community data gathering, citizen science, and STEM education in her career, she was an active member of the Internet research and open standards community. Estrin is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


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