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Big Data Congress Unveils First Keynote Speakers

The Big Data Congress, taking place between Oct. 17 to Oct. 19 in Saint John, aims to highlight the business and economic potential of data science and how it can transform business, government and society. The event brings in leading thinkers from around the world to share how others can take advantage of the trends and opportunities big data has to offer.

“We started the whole project firstly to raise awareness of the potential for big data and big data analytics to create an opportunity for people in Atlantic Canada to create and export jobs here,” said T4G president and event organizer Geoff Flood in a previous interview with Huddle. “Because we’ve got the educational institutions, the workforce and everything that’s needed to build competency in a new industry.”

The week, event organizers announced keynote speakers Alec Ross, author and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and Alex “Sandy” Pentland, director of MIT’s Human Dynamics and Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program:

Alec Ross

Ross is one of America’s leading experts on innovation. Besides being the Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Johns Hopkins University, he’s also the author of The Industries of the Future. The book explores technological and economic trends and developments that will shape the next ten years, from cybersecurity and big data to the commercialization of genomics to the code-ification of money, markets and trust. Ross serves as an advisor to investors, corporations and government leaders to help them understand the implication of factors emerging at the intersection of geopolitics, markets and increasingly disruptive network technologies. He also worked for four years as senior advisor for Innovation to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Alex “Sandy” Pentland

Professor Alex “Sandy” Pentland is the director of the Human Dynamics Laboratory and of the Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Revered as a pioneer in organizational engineering, mobile information systems, and computational social science, Pentland is known as Big Data’s “presiding genius.” He currently directs MIT’s Human Dynamics and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program and is a founding member of the advisory boards for Nissan, Motorola Mobility and Telefonica. In his latest book, Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread—The Lessons from a New Science, Pentland explores the revolution in the study of social behaviour in a generation, an entirely new way to look at life itself. Named one of Forbes 2012, “seven most powerful data scientists in the world,” his research has been featured in Nature, Science, Harvard Business Review and is the focus of TV features on BBC World, Discover and Science channels.
The second round of keynote speakers are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.