Building A Data-Driven White House


Editor’s note: David Richards is CEO, president and co-founder of WANdisco, a public software company specializing in the area of distributed computing. It is a corporate contributor to Hadoop, Subversion and other open-source projects. 

Working in government IT doesn’t mean what it used to. In the past, computers were only used to carry out simple office work or as a substitute for pens and paper. And now, organizations are fast realizing they require new leadership to get the most out of their data. This is more than just another fickle trend; a quick search on LinkedIn reveals that “data scientist” now appears in roughly 36,000 help-wanted posts.

In a move that reflects the growing prominence of data science in the U.S., the White House has named DJ Patil as the nation’s first chief data scientist. The former PayPal and eBay executive is tasked with helping the U.S. government both maximize its…

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