Tonight’s Guest Lecturers: Will Cukierski from Kaggle and David Huffaker from Google

Tonight we have two guest lecturers. It’s going to be a jam-packed night!

William Cukierski is a data scientist at Kaggle. He has a bachelor’s degree in physics from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Rutgers University, where he studied applications of machine learning in cancer research. Prior to joining Kaggle, he finished competitively in predictive data competitions on topics ranging from predicting stock movements, to forecasting grocery shopping, to automated essay grading.

For the unitiated, Kaggle hosts data science competitions. Tonight we’ll announce our in-class Kaggle Competition, which will take place over the next 2 months. Will will be introducing

  1. Crowdsourcing  and Kaggle
  2. The final project
  3. Feature selection
  4. Decision trees

David Huffaker, in his own words:

I am a researcher at Google, focused on understanding online social behavior.  I work on Google+ and spend most days doing large-scale data analysis. I rely on a variety of quantitative methods to examine online social behavior.  The goal of my work is to inform the design of technologies that support social interaction, collaboration and community-building.

I completed my Ph.D. in the Media, Technology and Society program at Northwestern University (’09).  My dissertation, Dimensions of Leadership and Social Influence in Online Communities, examines the language and social networks of users who trigger feedback and diffuse language. It was awarded the Herbert S. Dordick Award for best dissertation in the field of communication and technology.

Before joining Google, I was a Research Fellow at the University of Michigan working with the NetSI group. We examined economic activity, virtual goods and diffusion in virtual worlds.  While completing my graduate work, I collaborated with the Virtual Worlds Observatory by examining social behavior in online games.  I also spent several years studying how children and adolescents can benefit from using technology at the Children’s Digital Media Lab and the Articulab.

My work is interdisciplinary, and I’ve published in journals such as Human Communication Research,  Developmental Psychology, Journal of Language and Social Psychology, and Journal of Computer-mediated Communication. I’ve also published in conference proceedings such as  ACM CHIIEEE Social Computing, and AAAI ICSWM. My research has been highlighted on New Scientist, Science News, msnbc and BBC among others.

Along with my research, I have been designing and developing web sites for over a decade, and remain passionate about the use of internet technology to make the world a better place.

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