Washington DC: Dr. DJ Patil, better known among friends as DJ, has become the first US Chief Data Scientist. He will be the Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Data Policy and Chief Data Scientist at the White House in the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
According to Megan Smith, the US U.S. Chief Technology Officer, President Obama has prioritized bringing top technical talent like DJ into the US federal government to harness the power of technology and innovation to help government better serve the American people.
DJ 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. Most recently, DJ served as the Vice President of Product at RelateIQ, which was acquired by Salesforce. DJ also previously held positions at LinkedIn, Greylock Partners, Skype, PayPal, and eBay. Prior to his work in the private sector, DJ 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.
As a doctoral student and faculty member at the University of Maryland, DJ used open datasets published by 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. DJ has also authored a number of influential articles and books explaining the important current and potential applications of data science.
As Chief Data Scientist, DJ will help shape policies and practices to help the U.S. 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. DJ will also work on the Obama Administration’s Precision Medicine Initiative, which focuses on utilizing 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.
As part of the CTO team, DJ will work closely with colleagues across government, including the Chief Information Officer and U.S. Digital Service. DJ’s work will also include data science leadership on the Administration’s momentum on open data and data science.
In addition to making more than 138,000 data sets available to the public for innovation and entrepreneurship, the Obama Administration is also empowering Americans with secure access to their personal data and expanding capacity to process and examine large and complex datasets.