DataLead Conference Draws International Names in Big Data to Berkeley

The former chief scientist at Amazon, a data scientist at Walmart Labs, a quantitative analyst at Google, and a data strategist at Morgan Stanley are among the experts who will share insights at the DataLead conference at UC Berkeley Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

The inaugural conference, which draws from an array of speakers from Berkeley-Haas, Silicon Valley, Wall Street banks, Europe’s Big Data leaders, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will take place at the Clark Kerr Campus Conference Center in Berkeley. About 200 academics, students, and industry professionals are expected to attend.

The three-day event promises to take a deep dive on big data, with an emphasis on the growing importance of analyzing and using large data sets to create business opportunities in marketing, finance, and retail.

“DataLead is part of our exploration of how business schools like Haas are going to fulfill the need for data sciences in marketing, retail, and finance,” says Linda Kreitzman, executive director of the Master of Financial Engineering (MFE) Program at Haas, and the conference organizer. “This conference marks the beginning of an international conversation on the application of big data in business.”

The Master of Financial Engineering (MFE) program at Haas is co-sponsoring the conference with French university ENSAE ParisTech.

Haas faculty are among the presenters and discussants. Nancy Wallace, professor and chair of the Real Estate Group at Haas, will participate in a panel on “Big Data Usage in Mortgage Modeling” on day one. On the second day, Miguel Villas-Boas, professor of marketing strategy, and Minjung Park, assistant marketing professor, will participate in the panel on “Marketing in the Era of Big Data.”

Others influential and international speakers:

Andreas Weigend, UC Berkeley lecturer and former chief scientist at Amazon, will deliver the keynote to kick off the event. Weigend is the author of over 100 scientific papers on the application of machine learning techniques to solve finance and business problems.

Jeff Borror, executive director at Morgan Stanley and author of Q for Mortals, in a talk called Is Big Better? will highlight how Morgan Stanley’s Securitized Products Group develops advanced analytics to value securities that are created from residential and commercial mortgages, leases, loans and other assets.

Françoise Soulié Fogelman, a French independent consultant who is in charge of big data at the ANR Scientific Committee (Agence Nationale de la Recherche) and a contributor to the TeraLab Big Data Platform, will describe the challenges and opportunities in generating value from projects exploiting big data.

Paul Cohen, program manager of big mechanism at Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), United States Department of Defense, will discuss how to understand causes and effects in very complicated systems.

Each day of the DataLead conference is anchored by a central theme. The first day focuses on banking, mortgage modeling, and understanding big data used in financial trading, including a seminar on machine learning with two hours of hands-on teaching.

Day two emphasizes how big data is transforming marketing. The final day will focus on big data’s use in education, travel, and social networking with talks on matching job offers to social network users and using big data to personalize travel.

Recruiting opportunities are expected to be a key part of the conference, according to Kreitzman, who says a steady stream of companies are contacting her to inquire about students with data science skills.

“We have a need for people who know big data and that means more math, more computer science, and the ability to process all of the information businesses are taking in today,” she says.

Register here: