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DJ Patil Talks Nerdy To Us

DJ Patil Talks Nerdy To Us FiveThirtyEight


DJP: My career arc: I’m a product of academia, having spent time in government before, and industry. When I had this opportunity come up and really started to dig in, we asked ourselves: What would be the mission of this role? And it really gets to: How do we responsibly unleash the power of data for the benefit of the American public and maximize the nation’s return on investment in data? Almost everything comes down from that.

Three big areas fall out of that. The first is the Precision Medicine Initiative. This is the idea of, how do we take data science, plus all the work that’s happened over the years in bioinformatics, bring that together to provide the next generation of health care, understanding of cancer treatments, chronic disease, etc.?

The second one is the idea of how we open up the data. The president has this executive order that data should be machine-readable. We’re like, “Of, course. That’s how we operate now.” It’s happening already. The National Weather Service doesn’t just produce paper; it produces netCDF files. But how do you open that up, to provide a place where people can easily find that data and build on it?

The third bucket — and I think we have a really unique time for, and that is a really interesting angle for FiveThirtyEight — it’s the intersection of data science across the federal government. How do you use data to do something really beneficial? To turn it into data products?

Stashed in: Nate Silver, Big Data!, Medicine, Weather!, America!

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Wow, his three points are clear and articulate. Well said, DJ!

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