Sep 22, 2016

Top Data Scientists to follow on Twitter

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English physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton is credited as saying, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” The humble metaphor describes Newton’s belief in the importance of prior generations’ work in allowing him to progress so far in his research. His reasoning behind the metaphor holds true upon examination – to become a leader in any industry, you learn from those who lead the field before you and improve upon their work.

The data science industry is no exception. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, statisticians and computer scientists conceptualized the field of data science, perhaps not giving it a formal title, but instead dreamed up the value of synthesizing computer science and statistics for data-based discovery. Data science has since grown from the work of these theorists, programmers, and entrepreneurs to become the valuable [field] it is today.

The following list is made up of  ‘giants’ in data science, from academia to industry. These are the top data scientists to follow on Twitter. Together these data scientists have made waves in the field and some are responsible for the popularity of data science today. They’re part of the reason why artificial intelligence and machine learning have such high research priority for tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Facebook.


The Theorists

Masterminds at the forefront of theoretical research who continue to push data science and artificial intelligence to new frontiers.

Geoffrey Hinton

Why you should know who Geoffrey Hinton is:

Deemed “the Godfather of Deep Learning,” Geoffrey Hinton has been at the forefront of artificial intelligence research since the 1970s, when he earned his PhD in A.I. at Edinburgh University. Inspired by the mysterious and complex way the brain learns information, he worked to recreate the process in computers – unfortunately, he did this at a time when computers were not powerful enough to do much. His famous deep learning method that formed the basis for his research in the 1980s, back-propagation, wouldn’t be appreciated by the tech industry for another couple of decades. He currently splits his time working at Google and at Toronto University, researching and developing algorithms for neural networks.

What you should take a look at:

Google’s AI Chief Geoffrey Hinton – How Neural Networks Really Work

Geoffrey Hinton: Deep learning with multiplicative interactions

Reddit AMA with Geoffrey Hinton

In the News:

Meet the Man Google Hired to Make AI a Reality

The meaning of AlphaGo, the AI program that beat a Go champ

Social Media and Online:

Web Page, Twitter


Yann LeCun

Why you should know who Yann LeCun is:

Director of AI at Facebook, Founding Director of NYU Center for Data Science, Yann LeCun is at the top of his field in deep learning – and has been teaching about convolutional learning since 1993. Considered one of the founding fathers of deep learning, LeCun created one of the earliest bank check recognition systems, and is a leading researcher in computer vision.

What you should take a look at:

Facebook’s Head of AI, Yann LeCun – Teaching Machines to Understand Us

Accelerating Understanding: Deep Learning, Intelligent Applications, and GPUs

How To Launch Your Career In Deep Learning Research

In the News:

Facebook’s Quest to Build an Artificial Brain Depends on This Guy

Top Facebook Researcher Says Exciting Things Are Happening in A.I., for Real This Time

Social Media and Online Presence:

Web Page, Twitter, LinkedIn


Sebastian Thrun

Why you should know who Sebastian Thrun is:

Thrun is the creator of Google [X], a world-leading research facility owned by Google that specializes in moonshot projects. This group has given birth to Google’s fleet of self-driving cars, Google Glass, and is now working on a plan to provide global internet access via balloons.

Thrun currently works part-time doing robotics and A.I. researcher at Stanford, and works as a consultant at Udacity – the popular online education company he founded.

What you should take a look at:

Google I/O 2015 – Democratizing Education

How Google’s Self-Driving Car Works

What Sebastian Thrun Has Learned at Udacity

In the News:

Sebastian Thrun Steps Down As Udacity’s CEO

Social Media and Online Presence:

Web Page, Twitter, LinkedIn

The Industry Practitioners

The developers behind your favorite tools, languages and packages.

Hadley Wickham

Why you should know who Hadley Wickham is:

If you are familiar with the statistical programming language R, chances are you’ve used one of the packages created by Wickham. He created 3 of the 4 most downloaded R packages in the world (ggplot2, stringr, plyr), and is now the Chief Scientist at RStudio. Wickham is famous in the R community for his innovative packages, and has since co-authored a book, “R for Data Science.”

What you should take a look at:

R for Data Science

Engineering Data Analysis (with R and ggplot2)

Hadley Wickham’s Github

In the news:

Hadley Wickham, the Man Who Revolutionized R

Social Media and Online:

Web Page, Twitter, LinkedIn


Wes McKinney

Why you should know who Wes Mckinney is:

Pandas, the library of easy-to-use data structures and data analysis tools for Python, is Wes McKinney’s brainchild. It allows the programmer to easily perform the entire data analysis workflow on Python alone – eliminating the need to switch to another language. Combined with other libraries in the SciPy stack, Pandas gives Python the capability to be a top language for data analysis. McKinney has written a book on Pandas, Python for Data Analysis, and continues to give presentations at industry-wide conferences around the world.

What you should take a look at:

Wes McKinney’s Github

Keynote: My Data Journey with Python |SciPy 2015 | Wes McKinney

In the News:

DataPad emerges to let everyone at your company create and play with charts

Cloudera bought DataPad because data scientists need tooling, too

Social Media and Online:

Web Page, Twitter, LinkedIn


The Superstars:

Data scientists who have accumulated massive followings on twitter, whose talks attract massive crowds, and whose efforts are popularizing data science.

DJ Patil

Why you should know who DJ Patil is:

In 2015, the White House announced Dr. Patil as Chief Data Scientist of the United States – a new position created by the Obama administration in an effort to “ensure government remains effective and innovative for the American public in our increasingly digital world.” He, along with former Cloudera co-founder Jeff Hammerbacher, coined the term “Data Scientist” in 2008. Dr. Patil has worked across the public and private sectors, holding a position at the Department of Defense as well as at esteemed companies such as LinkedIn, Ebay, and Skype.

What you should take a look at:

“Data Science: Where are We Going?” – Dr. DJ Patil

DJ Patil Talks Nerdy To Us

In the news:

U.S. Traffic Deaths Make the Biggest Leap in 50 Years

Patient access to data will bolster precision medicine, cancer moonshot, US Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil says

Social Media and Online:

Web Page, Twitter, LinkedIn


Peter Skomoroch

Why you should know who Peter Skomoroch is:

Rated as one of the top twitter influencers in data science according to KDnuggets, Skomoroch has amassed a large following on social media. But more importantly, Skomoroch is the mind that powered the data science team at the world’s most popular professional networking website, LinkedIn, from 2009 to 2013. As the Principal Data Scientist at LinkedIn, he created the skills and endorsements sections of user profiles.

What you should take a look at:

Linkedin Data Scientist ‘In the Studio’

In the News:

4 big data predictions that won’t happen in 2014 — and 1 that will

3 skills a data scientist needs

Social Media and Online:

Twitter, LinkedIn


Andrew Ng

Why you should know who Andrew Ng is:

Andrew Ng is the closest thing to a “machine learning superstar” that exists. The co-founder of Coursera, Chief Scientist at Baidu, and associate professor at Stanford leads the charge in development of free technical courses for data scientists by creating the first-of-its-kind Machine Learning course now offered by Coursera. His influence spans both academia and industry – in 2011 he founded the Google Brain project, a collaborative research effort to create massive-scale deep learning algorithms. His areas of expertise include deep learning and its applications for computer vision and computer speech.

What you should take a look at:

Lectures | Machine Learning (Stanford)

Andrew Ng: Deep Learning, Self-Taught Learning and Unsupervised Feature Learning

Publications by Andrew Ng

In the news:

Google Brain’s Co-inventor Tells Why He’s Building Chinese Neural Networks

Social Media and Online:

Web Page, Twitter, LinkedIn


Kirk Borne

Why you should know who Kirk Borne is:

His LinkedIn profile boasts a reputation as the “#1 Big Data, #2 Machine Learning, and #13 IOT influencer worldwide,” and as principal data scientist at one of the most prestigious consulting firms in the nation, Booz Allen Hamilton, Kirk Borne is a major player in the Data Science industry. Before Booz Allen Hamilton, Borne worked at NASA and with the Hubble Space Telescope Data team, and later co-created the field of astroinformatics.

What you should take a look at:

Big Data, Small World

Expert Series: Kirk Borne, Senior Lead Scientist of Booz Allen Hamilton

In the news:

Kirk Borne on data science and big data analytics, data literacy

Data Driven: The New Big Science

Social Media and Online:

Web Page, Twitter, LinkedIn


Chris Surdak

Why you should know who Chris Surdak is:

Surdak has is an expert in big data and technology strategy as well as an award-winning author. He has worked with companies such as HP, Dell, and Citibank over the past 25 years to engineer data-driven solutions in the emerging digital economy. Since then, he has started his self-named consulting business, Surdak & Co..

What you should take a look at:

Selling Illusory Joy: Emotions, Big Data and the Coming Retail Renaissance

How to NOT FAIL at Big Data in 2 Minutes or Less

In the news:

Big Data in 2016: Cloudy, with a Chance of Disappointment, Disillusionment, and Disruption

Social Media and Online:

Web Page, Twitter, LinkedIn


Hilary Mason

Why you should know who Hilary Mason is:

Aside from being one of the most influential data scientists on Twitter, Mason has a wealth of experience as a leader in the data industry. Formerly the Chief Scientist at Bit.ly, the popular URL shortening service, Mason has since moved on to co-found HackNY, a non-profit educator for the computer scientists and engineers, and a machine intelligence startup, Fast Forward Labs. When she is not busy running one of her many organizations, Mason advocates for innovation in data science.

What you should take a look at:

Dirty Secrets of Data Science by Hilary Mason

In the news:

The Mistakes Companies Make With Big Data

40 under 40: Hilary Mason

Data scientist Hilary Mason wants to show you the (near) future

Social Media and Online:

Web Page, Twitter, LinkedIn

Other influencers you should know

@hackingdata @techammer @hammer_lab @cloudera
@datajunkie Statistics, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Mountain Biking, Hiking. Ex-Facebook. UCLA Bruin. LA native.
@doug_laney Gartner VP & Distinguished Analyst — Chief Data Officer Research & Advisory. Data & Analytics Strategy, Infonomics, Big Data & Info Innovation. 10SNE1?
@andrewbrust Sr. Director, Market Strategy and Intelligence at Datameer; Big Data guy at ZDNet; https://t.co/wUtB6yduG7 columnist; Microsoft tech influencer.
@jaimefitzgerald Creator of methods that turn data into results @fitzanalytics. Author/speaker/dad. #analytics & #datascience for #socialgood
@katecrawford Researches machine learning, AI, power and ethics. May be a Markov chain. MSR NYC | MIT Center for Civic Media | NYU Information Law Institute |
@timoelliott Passionate about digital transformation, innovation, big data, and analytics. Employed by SAP, but all my own thoughts here.
@mgualtieri Forrester VP & Principal Analyst: Advanced analytics, IoT, machine learning & AI. Tech storyteller. Lexington Minute Man & Swing dancing with @lisagualtieri
@williammcknight Data strategies & implementations 2 mature data and grow business 4 Global 2000+. Industry analyst: talks/papers/benchmarks. #Analytics #BigData. Obstacle Racer
@drewconway Data nerd, hacker, student of conflict. Founder and CEO of @alluvium
@natesilver538 Editor-in-Chief, @FiveThirtyEight. Author, The Signal and the Noise (https://t.co/EYTxvN6BLY). Sports/politics/food geek.
@datagenius Big Data Evangelist, Innovator, Data Scientist,DW BI SME. Author, Strategy Consultant, Speaker, TDWI Faculty
@revodavid Blogger and R Community Lead at Microsoft (formerly of Revolution Analytics). Proud husband to @nonfamousjay.
@timintel IT strategy @Intel: #bigdata #BI #cloud #analytics & #hadoop. 20+ years in #datamanagement. #TechTim on Tom’s IT Pro. http://t.co/OHqJvsPZvJ Opinions my own.
@antgoldbloom Co-founder and CEO of Kaggle.
@merv Gartner analyst – Microsoft Lead, Hadoop, NoSQL, DBMSs. Guitarist, husband, dad, dog lover. http://t.co/eraOTMNfDy  http://t.co/Q83iPWYyRM
@prussom Industry Analyst for Big Data, Analytics, DW, DI, DQ, MDM, DG, DBMSs
@angelazutavern Data Science & Innovation | VP @BoozAllen | Board of Directors @ICE_Foundation | #DataScience #BigData #AdvancedAnalytics #IoT #SocialGood
@acmurthy Co-Founder, @Hortonworks. Moving Apache Hadoop forward since day one, since 2006. Old sports soul. Engineer sheepdog.
@stevelohr Technology reporter for the New York Times. Author of new book on data science, Data-ism (HarperBusiness, 2015)
@maggiekb1 Professional nerd and question asker. Senior Science Reporter at @FiveThirtyEight. Convictions column at @UnDarkMag.
@dtunkelang Data science. Engineering. Leadership.
@mikeolson Cloudera Chief Strategy Officer
@tlipcon Engineer at Cloudera, Founder of the @ApacheKudu project. Hadoop/HBase committer, former Erlanger. Brown CS alumnus, wannabe pianist and cellist
@bigdatagal ? Data Scientist, Engineer, Entrepreneur. ? Ask me about my data science books, training courses & talks. ?
@imbigdata Big Data Architect at Flipp. Interested in creating new business opportunities using modern Big Data technology stack. Think Big. Start Small. Scale Fast.
@stephen_wolfram Founder & CEO of Wolfram Research
@grapealope Neuroscientist. Data scientist. Entrepreneur. Unicyclist. Formerly @stanforddschool, @SingularityU @Rock_Health @Misfit. Wearables #datapunk, @DrBrainlove node.
@ronbodkin Founder & President of Think Big, a Teradata company. We build data science and engineering apps with Hadoop and NoSQL.
@mich8elwu Scientist: Big Data, Gamification, Influence, Predictive Social Analytic, Cyber Anthropology, Social Network Analysis, Machine Learning, Community Dynamics
@billfranksga Analytics & big data focused speaker, blogger, consultant, and author
@acroll Writer, speaker, startups. Big Data, immersive reality, marketing strategy. Strata, Startupfest, Bitnorth. @leananalytics @tiltmill.
@visualisingdata Data visualisation freelancer, design consultant, trainer, researcher & author. Lecturer at MICA (US) and Imperial College (UK).
@ted_dunning VP Incubation at Apache Software Foundation, committer on many Apache projects, Chief Application Architect at MapR Technologies.
@stevesarsfield Author of ‘Data Governance Imperative’. Data geek and commentator on analytics, big data & data governance. Works at Hewlett Packard Enterprise – Vertica.
@kinggary Harvard Professor (social scientist, statistician). Co-founder Crimson Hexagon, Learning Catalytics, Perusall, etc.
@wileyed Chief Data Scientist @Sears  | @McKinsey Alum | #BigData + #Analytics Evangelist | #Hadoop, #ApacheSpark, & #R Enthusiast | Opinions mine
@mrogati Data Science advisor. Turning data into products and stories. Former VP of Data @Jawbone & @LinkedIn data scientist. EP @DCVC. CMU CS PhD.
@josh_wills @SlackHQ Data Engineering and Apache Crunch committer. I mostly tweet about data science and postmodern lit. Yeah, I know.
@smfrogers Datajournalist, and Data Editor @Google. Formerly @Twitter and editor of Guardian Datablog. Author, Facts are Sacred http://t.co/v8gdsFxdWW.  All views my own
@squarecog Six years of data eng @Twitter. Now managing teams that build software that talks to robots that alter microbes that make useful things, @Zymergen.
@storywithdata Helping rid the world of ineffective graphs, one exploding, 3D pie chart at a time!
@joe_hellerstein Founder and CSO, Trifacta. Berkeley CS Prof, focused on data and computation. Advisor to tech companies.
@gonnector Gonnector – Go, Connect, Create Values / Data Scientist & Growth Hacker at @TreasureData / Growth Hacking & Data Science Consulting / Entrepreneur, Professor
@jtoy I build deep learning models, study cognition, ponder consciousness,polyglot in human & computer languages, & start companies.founder of https://t.co/Th9Aw7udwl
@markmadsen Consultant, industry analyst for all things data: analytics, big data, data management, BI. The Jon Stewart of data (according to the Strata and OScon events)
@cutting Founder of Lucene, Nutch, Hadoop & Avro.
@kncukier The Economist’s Senior Editor for Data and Digital. Coauthor of NYT bestseller Big Data. On the board of Int’l Bridges to Justice (https://t.co/XRAT5wfkyV)
@johndcook Applied mathematician, consultant, entrepreneur
@bigdata Chief Data Scientist @OReillyMedia, Program Director of @strataconf & @OReillyAI. Host of the O’Reilly Data Show podcast. Every Sunday is a Hack Day.
@jure Professor of #computerscience @Stanford; Chief Scientist @Pinterest. #datamining #machinelearning #networks, #bigdata, #web #socialmedia.
@bigdataanalysis Data Scientist, Musician, Engineer, Analog Audio and Vacuum Tube lover. These thoughts are my own, but I love being CTO at Silicon Valley Data Science.
@kdnuggets KDnuggets President, #Analytics, #BigData, #DataMining, #DataScience expert, KDD & SIGKDD co-founder, was Chief Scientist at 2 startups, part-time philosopher.
@petewarden CTO of Jetpac, bought by Google. Apple alumnus, O’Reilly author, blogger, on the TensorFlow team at Google doing deep learning. Email: pete@petewarden.com
@bobgourley A CTO with interests in #BigData, #NatSec, #Cyber. Author of The Cyber Threat http://t.co/jiEsLBPQDG. Publisher @CTOvision. Partner @CognitoCorp
@analyticbridge A Entrepreneur and pioneering data science, big data, machine learning, deep learning, IoT, AI, and predictive modeling expert.

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