The White House introduced the first chief data scientist last week, welcoming Dr. DJ Patil to the post within the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Patil used open datasets from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration during his doctoral student days at the University of Maryland and is credited with improving numerical weather forecasting.
Patil also has experience in the private sector, with stints as data scientist at LinkedIn, eBay, Greylock and RelateIQ. He also served as a technology policy fellow at the Department of Defense Defense Threat Reduction Agency in 2004 and 2005.
According to the announcement:
Across our great nation, we’ve begun to see an acceleration of the power of data to deliver value. From early open data work by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which provides data that enables weather forecasts to come directly to our mobile phones, to powering GPS systems that feed geospatial data to countless apps and services, government data has supported a transformation in the way we live today for the better.
The new chief data scientist will shape policies and practices of data science, including maximizing the nation’s return on investment in data as well as recruiting data scientists to serve the public.
The Obama administration has placed an emphasis on open data, releasing 138,000 data sets. It’s the administration’s belief that open data will add to innovation and entrepreneurship and is vital to the future of the country.