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What the Obama Campaign's Chief Data Scientist Is Up to Now

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Rayid Ghani of the University of Chicago

"Improving search results or optimizing ad clicks, they are not improving lives," says Rayid Ghani, who was chief data scientist for President Obama's reelection campaign.

Credit: The Atlantic

The chief data scientist of President Barack Obama's reelection campaign is headed to the University of Chicago to bring sophisticated data analysis to difficult problems. Rayid Ghani will work with the Computation Institute and the Harris School of Public Policy, and serve as the chief data scientist for the Urban Center for Computation and Data.

Ghani says he got involved with the Obama campaign because he cares about societal problems and wants to improve lives. He says the move to the University of Chicago gives him another opportunity to have an impact beyond the corporate world.

Ghani is running the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Data Science for Social Good Fellowship, which pairs up to 40 computer science fellows from around the country with nonprofits who have data problems, such as identifying promising students who could use some assistance with the college admissions process. "You've got students with very high potential who are at risk of not applying to college or who apply to much worse colleges than they could get into," Ghani says. "You want to be able to look at students and see who is at risk of this behavior."

From The Atlantic
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