Data, Algorithms, & Consequences for Society

Feb 12 2018

Dr. Cathy O’Neil, author of Weapons of Math Destruction, presented a talk at Columbia University on “Data, Algorithms, and their Consequences for Society”. The event, which was co-sponsored by the APAM Department and Columbia University’s SIAM Chapter, filled every seat in Davis Auditorium, leaving additional audience members to stand in the back or sit in the aisles.

Cathy O’Neil earned a Ph.D. in math from Harvard, was a postdoc at the M.I.T. math department, and a professor at Barnard College where she published a number of research papers in arithmetic algebraic geometry. She then switched over to the private sector, working as a quant for the hedge fund D.E. Shaw in the middle of the credit crisis, and then for RiskMetrics, a risk software company that assesses risk for the holdings of hedge funds and banks. She left finance in 2011 and started working as a data scientist in the New York start-up scene, building models that predicted people’s purchases and clicks. She wrote Doing Data Science in 2013 and launched the Lede Program in Data Journalism at Columbia in 2014. She is a regular contributor to Bloomberg View and wrote the book Weapons of Math Destruction: how big data increases inequality and threatens democracy. She recently founded ORCAA, an algorithmic auditing company.

(left-right): Prof. I.C. Noyan, Rachael Keller, (Ph.D. candidate and CU SIAM student organizer), Dr. Cathy O’Neil, and Mel Abler (Ph.D. candidate)