White House names DJ Patil as the first US chief data scientist

19 Feb 2015

Pictured: DJ Patil, the White House's first Chief Data Scientist

The White House has appointed DJ Patil as the United States’ first chief data scientist and deputy CTO for Data Policy. He will evangelise the use of big data across government.

Patil is one of the first people to coin the title ‘data scientist’ and previously held positions at LinkedIn, Greylock Partners, Skype, PayPal, and eBay.

Prior to his work in the private sector, Patil worked at the Department of Defense, where he directed new efforts to bridge computational and social sciences in fields like social network analysis to help anticipate emerging threats to the US.

“As chief data scientist, DJ will help shape policies and practices to help the US remain a leader in technology and innovation, foster partnerships to help responsibly maximize the nation’s return on its investment in data, and help to recruit and retain the best minds in data science to join us in serving the public,” White House CTO Megan Smith, said.

“DJ will also work on the Administration’s Precision Medicine Initiative, which focuses on utilising advances in data and health care to provide clinicians with new tools, knowledge, and therapies to select which treatments will work best for which patients, while protecting patient privacy.”

Smith said that in the past six years, the Obama administration made major progress in the area of big data having made more than 138,000 data sets available to the public to use for innovation and entrepreneurship.

“The Administration is also empowering Americans with secure access to their personal data and expanding our capacity to process and examine large and complex data sets.

“Utilising data for innovation holds amazing potential for the future of our country,” Smith said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years