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DJ Patil tapped as U.S. chief data scientist

DJ Patil has been named to a post for which he coined the term.

The White House on Feb. 18 announced it would be hiring Patil as the first-ever U.S. chief data scientist.

Patil comes to the White House from RelateIQ, where he was vice president of product. He also previously worked at LinkedIn, Greylock Partners, PayPal, Skype and eBay.

Patil has some government experience. In the early 2000s he worked at the Defense Department on efforts to incorporate computational and social sciences in social network analysis to help anticipate emerging threats.

But he is perhaps best known for a 2012 Harvard Business Review article he co-authored that declared "data scientist" the sexiest job of the 21st century.

Patil joins the growing number of private sector executives to join the administration's technology team -- former VMWare executive Tony Scott was named to the federal CIO position earlier this month, and Google's Megan Smith was tapped for the CTO post late last year.

As chief data scientist and deputy chief technology officer for data policy, Patil will "help shape policies and practices to help the U.S. remain a leader in technology and innovation, foster partnerships to help responsibly maximize the nation's return on its investment in data, and help to recruit and retain the best minds in data science to join us in serving the public," Smith said in a blog post.

He will also work on the administration's Precision Medicine Initiative, which is working to connect clinicians with the latest advances in health care data.

About the Author

Colby Hochmuth is a former staff writer for FCW.

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