Earlier this month, our own Jen Pahlka had the honor of delivering the closing keynote at the EMC Data Scientist Summit in Las Vegas. The day-long event was a mix of speakers and panels with topics ranging from machine learning to cloud infrastructure. Jen rounded out the event by bringing the topic back down to the local level and discussed some of the applications that Code for America has started working on and how important data can be to local governments. Where the data doesn’t exist, some cities have started experimenting with new ways of filling in the gaps: San Ramon’s fire department is mapping the locations of their life-saving defibrillators, Portland’s Metro is crowdsourcing the location of toxic smells, and Boston’s using smartphone vibrations in cars to detect potholes. Everyday, there’s more and more data being generated, and a more complete picture of urban life is being formed.
To me, one of the most exciting use cases of open data is the ability to use the scientific method to make more informed decisions. The new paradigm — “Big Data” — creates new opportunities for organizations and individuals to distill insight from the ever-growing data stream. And so urban studies and data science will need to go hand in hand when approaching the challenges facing our cities. That is why EMC and CfA are working together to launch a Data Science Fellowship, along with a new “Making A Difference With Data” lecture series. Together, we’re hoping to help take advantage of the promise of big data for local governments and spark a meaningful conversation around this important topic.
Details about each program is below.
EMC Data Scientist Fellowship
EMC and Code for America are recruiting one data scientist who is a passionate thinker and a conscientious doer. The candidate will be well connected within the big data community, demonstrating the ability to be a leader in guiding the future of data science. As part of the 2012 Fellowship program, this individual will work side-by-side with experts to derive information from the data deluge and serve as a champion for dynamic collaboration and information sharing. Deadline for application is July 31, 2011. To apply or more information please visit http://codeforamerica.org/fellows/apply/
“Making A Difference With Data” Lecture Series
The new “Making A Difference With Data” lecture series will feature a gathering of the brightest minds in the Big Data revolution and include guest speakers from a broad range of backgrounds. These data practitioners will vary from developers, visual designers, researchers, analysts to community managers. Each will bring their experience and insight in making sense of the data opportunity and share their passion with the wider community. “Making A Difference With Data” lectures will be held at the Code for America headquarters. The events will be captured on high-quality video and shared openly on the Web.
We’re excited to be working with EMC to leverage data science on urban issues, and if you’re a data scientists looking to give back, apply today!