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About the Event

Complex data analysis is a multi-billion dollar business.  Major data analysis tool makers alone report revenues totaling over $5 billion per year: SAS Institute ($3 Billion), IBM SPSS ($1.8 Billion), MathWorks ($800 Million), Wolfram Research (at least $40 million), and a number of less well known smaller firms.  Medical businesses, financial firms, and science and engineering organizations spend billions of dollars per year on these tools and the salaries of the analysts, scientists, and engineers performing the analyses.

Complex data analysis increasingly determines the approval of new drugs and medical treatments, medical treatment decisions for individual patients, investment decisions for banks, pensions, and individuals, important public policy decisions, and the design and development of products from airplanes and cars to smart watches and children’s toys.

State-of-the-art complex data analysis is labor intensive, time consuming, and error prone — requiring highly skilled analysts, often Ph.D.’s or other highly educated professionals, using tools with large libraries of built-in statistical and data analytical methods and tests: Excel, MATLAB, the R statistical programming language and similar tools.  Results often take months or even years to produce, are often difficult to reproduce, difficult to present convincingly to non-specialists, difficult to audit for regulatory compliance and investor due diligence, and sometimes simply wrong, especially where the data involves human subjects or human society.  Many important problems in business and society remain unsolved despite modern computer-intensive data analysis methods.

A widely cited report from the McKinsey management consulting firm suggests that the United States may face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 such human analysts by 2018: http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/big-data-the-next-frontier-for-innovation

Automating complex data analysis using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and similar technologies can substantially reduce the cost, time to completion, increase the quality, and yield results that are currently impossible.  New tools that automate complex data analysis are a disruptive business opportunity.  

This talk discusses the current state-of-the-art in attempts to automate complex data analysis.  It discusses widely used tools such as SAS, MATLAB and Excel and their current limitations.  It discusses current products that attempt to automate complex data analysis from companies such as Skytree and research prototypes such as the Automatic Statistician from Cambridge University  — funded in part by Google.  It discusses what the automation of complex data analysis may look like in the future, possible methods of automating complex data analysis, and problems and pitfalls of automating complex data analysis.  The talk will include a demonstration of a prototype system for automating complex data analysis.


About the Speaker

John F. McGowan, Ph.D. solves problems using mathematics and mathematical software, including developing gesture recognition for touch devices, video compression and speech recognition technologies. He has extensive experience developing software in C, C++, MATLAB, Python, Visual Basic and many other programming languages. He has been a Visiting Scholar at HP Labs developing computer vision algorithms and software for mobile devices. He has worked as a contractor at NASA Ames Research Center involved in the research and development of image and video processing algorithms and technology. He has published articles on the origin and evolution of life, the exploration of Mars (anticipating the discovery of methane on Mars), and cheap access to space. He has also worked for a number of startup companies and Apple.  He has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BS in physics from Caltech.


About the CAEG

The Caltech Alumni Entrepreneurship Group (CAEG) is a technical (not consumer) forum group designed to provide trusted, interdisciplinary input during the research, exploration and development phases, and provide entrepreneurs access to a network of skills and experience.

The CAEG hosts monthly business mixers with a Caltech alumni presentation on business and entrepreneurship. The event is for Caltech alumni only.

Do you have an idea you would like to vet? Do you know where to start? Can you help others with your expertise and experience? Are you looking for a new job position, or have one available? Do you want to be a mentor, or need a mentor? Would you like to join a board of directors, or are you looking for qualified candidates for one?


Questions? Contact: Kent Noble: caakent@sonic.net

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