EP15 – Data Scientist : Alex “Sandy” Pentland

Hello People,

Here is the fifth article of my series concerning famous Data Scientists. Today we will speak of the one and only Alex Paul “Sandy” Pentland; who featured in two TedX Talks; How social networks make us smarterSuccess through social physics. Since 2011 known as one of the “7 most powerful data scientist in the world” by Forbes.

So we will follow the following steps.
(1) Who is this Data Scientist?
(2) What is his work about?
(3) How can I benefit of such learning insights in my career path & theme selection?

Who is this Data Scientist?

Being an American-born (September 3, 1951), Alex “Sandy” Pentland is an American computer scientist known for the insight of social physics, concepts like wearable computing and related fields contributions in computational social science & computer vision. Author of publications dating from 2010, the latter focuses on ideas creation, collective intelligence, big data, social media, related computer science and related insights. Pentland also dedicated related papers to nurture this new science.

Pentland is a founding member of the Advisory Boards for Nissan, Motorola Mobility, Telefonica, and a variety of start-up firms. Meanwhile he splits his time by directing MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program while co-leading the World Economic Forum Big Data and Personal Data initiatives.

What is his work about?

For his contribution in the field of big data and of social physics, Pentland was named by Forbes as one of the world’s seven most powerful data scientists along with a founder of Google and the CTO of the United States.

By being a pioneer in wearable computing, Pentland uses this to crack the codes and gather data to intensify social physics which is a way of understanding human behavior based on analysis of big data. This was then applied to social networks user behaviors.

Through his research in social physics, Pentland, wants to help people better understand the “physics” of their social environment. While helping individuals, companies and communities to reinvent themselves to be safer, more productive, and more creative.

How can I benefit of such learning insights in my career path & theme selection?

Pentland is more than Data Scientist he is a Social Scientist. By generating insights via wearable technology up to optimize social physics the latter is a real game changer. Applying such logic to create a new science and applying this to social networks is an awesome use of data. Although starting as a computer scientist, Pentland managed to bring in philosophy to his analytical skills while getting in social science and big data analysis to generate patterns and insights.

Conclusion : Pentland is to be considered as a role model for Data Scientist who wish to generate insights and not science discoveries. In my point of view, Pentland does totally fit in the learning curve I want to travel. Because he uses analytical skills based on logic, math and data in order to generate social insights while studying modern society phenomenons like social networks and management theorems such as good decision making. Being from post graduate in competitive and business intelligence, I do consider that Pentland does represent a source of inspiration in his approach to data and analytical methodologies.

Hence, my  theme being mostly orientated to social analysis due to data impact and the search of patterns to generate insights I hereby consider Pentland as a role model to follow.  Pentland strengthen the belief that data is to be found everywhere; it only need to be track and analyze to generate collective intelligence and foster good decisions.



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