White House Appoints D.J. Patil as Chief Data Scientist

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The White House on Feb. 18 announced the appointment of D.J. Patil as deputy chief technology officer for Data Policy and chief data scientist.

Patil, who will be responsible for new applications of big data across all areas of government, with a particular focus on healthcare, will work in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, reporting to Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith.

Patel joins the White House following an incredible career as a data scientist – a term he helped coin – in the public and private sectors, and in academia, Smith wrote in a bog on the White House website. Most recently, Patil served as vice president of Product at RelateIQ.

He has 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 United States.

Patil has also authored a number of influential articles and books explaining the important current and potential applications of data science.

In 2012, he co-authored the Harvard Business Review article that called out “data scientist” as the sexiest job of the 21st century.

As a doctoral student and faculty member at the University of Maryland, Patil used open datasets published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to make major improvements in numerical weather forecasting. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of California, San Diego, and a PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland College Park.