EP24 – Data Scientist : Sebastian Thrun

Hello People,

Here is the twelfth article of my series concerning famous Data Scientists. We will be focused on Data Scientist who turned Entrepreneur. Today we will talk about Sebastian Thrun. From Stanford to Google Glass to Google X to Udacity while building intelligent cars.

So we will follow the following steps.

(1) Who is this Data Scientist?

(2) What is his work & Entrepreneur project are about?

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

Who is this Data Scientist?

Sebastian Thrun, is an German computer scientist. In addition, he is an innovator and entrepreneur educator. Thrun is also known for his work on probabilistic algorithms for robotics with applications including robotic mapping. In his recent work, he led development of the robotic vehicle Stanley winning him the first place at DARPA grand Challenge (2005). Later on, Thrun and his team developed another vehicle named Junior winning the second place  at DARPA grand Challenge (2007). Actually he is also the lead of the Thrun lab which is dedicated to improve society via robotics and artificial intelligence discoveries.

What is his work about?

Having a computer engineering background Thrun excels in robotics and related mapping. He founded the Google X project and on intelligent cars concepts as he relates in a Tedx talk. Thus, his work is mostly dedicated to robotics innovations and wins him a lot of awards including the DARPA grand challenge first place (2005) and second place (2007).

Due to his major contributions, Thrun was elected, at the age of 39, into the Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (2007) and also into the National Academy of Engineering (2007). Then, Thrun received the Max-Planck-Research Award (2011) and the inaugural AAAI Ed Feigenbaum Prize. Recently, Fast Company selected Thrun as the fifth most creative person in the business world. Meanwhile, the Guardian recognized Thrun as one of 20 “fighters for internet freedom”.

In 2012, via a Stanford University experiment Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig offered their “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” course online to anyone, for free. Students from more than 190 countries enrolled and much later, Udacity was born. The aim of the project is to change the future of education by bridging the gap between real-world skills, relevant education, and employment.

Udacity:  The mission of Udacity is to bring accessible, affordable, engaging, and highly effective higher education to the world. They believe that higher education is a basic human right, and seek to empower students to advance their education and careers.

“Education is no longer a one-time event but a lifelong experience. Education should be less passive listening (no long lectures) and more active doing. Education should empower students to succeed not just in school but in life.” Udacity

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

Thrun is an multi-skills Data Scientist for his contributions in various fields mainly robotics but also for his dedication in sharing his knowledge via Udacity while working on his personal mission being : enhancing society.

However, Thrun belongs more to the research orientated Data Scientist due to his inclination to work on robotics and less on business analysis related fields. Thus, he does not fit as a role model for me on my DoctoRoad.



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