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Digging Deep into Data Science and the Silicon Valley

David_Richards_WANDISCOIn this special guest feature, David Richards of WANdisco pays tribute to noted computer scientist Alan Turing in terms of the rise of the Big Data industry. David is CEO of WANdisco. Since co-founding the Company in Silicon Valley in 2005, David has led WANdisco on a course for rapid international expansion, opening offices in the UK, Japan and China. David spearheaded WANdisco to a hugely successful listing on London Stock Exchange (WAND:LSE). With over 15 years’ executive experience in the software industry, David sits on a number of advisory and executive boards of Silicon Valley start-up ventures. He is a frequent commentator on a range of business and technology issues, appearing regularly on Bloomberg and CNBC. David holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Huddersfield.

Tackling the growth of Big Data numbers is fascinating. In the U.K., The Big Data industries are set to be worth 216 billion pounds by 2017. As for the financial impact here in the U.S., Big Data will add $155 to $325 billion to the U.S. economy by 2020.

With that, the role of data science is increasing as the influx of data skyrockets. When thinking about the advancement of Big Data, I also think about the great scientist, Alan Turing. As the creator of the world’s first computer and essentially saving millions of lives during WWII, The Alan Turing Institute was established to promote the education and research around data science. As a large academic focus in the U.K., this organization in conjunction with five other U.K. universities helps to promote collaboration between the private and public sectors, ultimately boosting the U.K. economy.

How can we pay tribute to Alan Turing and the Institute here in the Silicon Valley? Here are some thoughts:

  • Tech Giants Team Up with Government: The Alan Turing Institute plays an important part in ensuring that the U.K. delivers on its Big Data promise to fuel innovation. However, with limited resources, it needs to make every action count. Creating a focused plan, one that speaks to government as much as it does industry, will be critical to help maximize the efforts from academia. We’ve already seen this trend in Silicon Valley. With that said, it will be vital that researchers and industry leaders like Google, Facebook or Intel communicate with policy makers to ensure innovative thinking is safeguarded from unnecessary regulation that stymies technological progress. The Alan Turing Institute is in a prime position to communicate between these bodies in the U.K., and the same is possible here in the U.S.
  • Dive Deeper into Data Analysis: Big Data management companies are helping a variety of industries to analyze and streamline their data. From banks and utility providers, to hospitals and government agencies, we’ll continue to see the deployment of Big Data strategies. It is something engineers have been doing for years. Similarly, we’ve avoided developing our products in isolation and are in continuous dialogue with customers. When data is brought together and analyzed using Hadoop, the result is startling. With traditional analytics methods rapidly being replaced by Big Data science, there is a great opportunity for a vast array of industry sectors.
  • The Rise of the Data Scientist: This is all the more important as data science is counted in dog years – the industry is accelerating so fast that, in terms of changes, it’s like packing seven years into one. While Alan Turing may not have known it during his time, he was one of the first pioneers of the data science industry. Fast forward to 2015, we’re seeing the rise of the data scientist, fueled by an increasing realization that companies will require new leadership in order to get the most out of their data. Enter the data scientist.

As the father of modern computing, Turing’s principles and sentiments on the advancement of data science are embodied within governing bodies and tech giants alike, undoubtedly creating a great spirit here in The Silicon Valley, and making Big Data more than just a buzzword.

 

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