The Rise of the Algorithmic Medium
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The Modern Data Nerd Isn't as Nerdy as You Think | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com

The Modern Data Nerd Isn't as Nerdy as You Think | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com | The Rise of the Algorithmic Medium | Scoop.it
Data scientists are fast becoming the rock stars of the 21st century. Thanks in part to Nate Silver's eerily accurate election predictions and Paul DePodesta's baseball-revolutionizing Moneyball techniques, math nerds have become celebrities.
Pierre Levy's insight:

Knowing the field is more important than knowing the math...

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luiy's curator insight, April 18, 2013 4:03 PM

Data scientists are fast becoming the rock stars of the 21st century. Thanks in part to Nate Silver’s eerily accurate election predictions and Paul DePodesta’s baseball-revolutionizing Moneyballtechniques, math nerds have become celebrities. It’s debatable how much their work differs from what statisticians have done for years, but it’s a growing field, and many companies are desperate to hire their own data scientists.

The irony is that many of these math nerds aren’t as math nerdy as you might expect.

 

Some of the best minds in the field lack the sort of heavy math or science training you might expect. Silver and Paul DePodesta have bachelor’s degrees in economics, but neither has a PhD. Former Facebook data scientist and Cloudera co-founder Jeff Hammerbacher — who helped define the field as it’s practiced today — only has a bachelor’s in mathematics. The top ranked competitor at Kaggle — which runs regular contest for data scientists — doesn’t have a PhD, and many of the site’s other elite competitors don’t either.

 

“In fact, I argue that often Ph.D.s in computer science in statistics spend too much time thinking about what algorithm to apply and not enough thinking about common sense issues like which set of variables (or features) are most likely to be important,” says Kaggle CEO Anthony Goldbloom.

 

Data scientist John Candido agrees. “An understanding of math is important,” he says, “but equally important is understanding the research. Understanding why you are using a particular type of math is more important than understanding the math itself.”

The Rise of the Algorithmic Medium
Algorithms are the new medium between people and people, people and data, data and data. Artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, machine learning, neural networks, internet of things, smart cities, cryptocurrencies...
Curated by Pierre Levy
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