Dr. D J Patil says he failed the first challenging math class in 8th grade. But that was before he realized the practical application of math, something that may be amiss in high school math class. He has since figured out the usefulness of math and transformed himself into nothing short of a math and data whiz. He says, “Math for me, is one of the most powerful set of tools to understand the physical world and make sense of why things happen.”
Upon completion of his Ph.D., Dr. Patil created a faculty position for himself, and worked on characterizing the complexity of weather and demonstrating that it wasn’t as chaotic as everyone had imagined it to be. Then he became interested in computational social science and worked with the U.S. government as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow. Among other projects, he also worked on bioweapons proliferation in Central Asia and helped create the Iraqi Virtual Science Library. Challenging himself further, he decided to work in the industry, and one of first areas he tackled, was on applying data for building new ways of detecting fraud. He helped build the whole front end security models for eBay and PayPal. In 2008, he joined LinkedIn and says, “that’s the place where data science finally got formalized”. He began looking for ways to take data and turn it into user-facing products. LinkedIn’s many data-driven products now include, “People you may know,” “Jobs you may be interested in,” “Groups you might like” and so on. If you use data correctly, it’s such an amazing multiplier for the user experience,” says Dr. Patil.
Currently, Dr. Patil is a Data Scientist in Residence at Greylock Partners, and is thinking about “the next fun thing to do” and on ways of scaling organizations. He is also serving as an adviser and mentor to portfolio companies, on how to think about data. Dr. Patil is known for co-coining the term Data Scientist. In 2011 he was ranked in Forbes Data Scientist list as #2 behind Larry Page. In 2012 he along with other notable “Gen Fluxers” were featured on the cover of Fast Company.
Dr. Patil will be speaking at TiEcon 2013. You can register for the conference at www.tiecon.org .
PS: I am looking to fill exciting job openings for someone with experience in Real Time Biological Digital Signal Processing and in Machine Learning and for Hardware/ Firmware Engineer with Sensor Implementation Experience for mobile health company in SF, CA. Details for these and other jobs can be found in the JOBS category on my blog, www.darshanavnadkarni.wordpress.com .