DJ Patil

U.S. Chief Data Scientist with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy



DJ Patil@dj44 · White House Chief Data Scientist
Hi - I'm DJ Patil, the United States' first Chief Data Scientist. I'm developing policies and practices to help the U.S. maintain its leadership in tech and innovation, fostering partnerships to maximize the Nation’s return on its investment in data, and helping attract and retain the best minds in data science to serve the public. I'm so happy to be here-- ask me anything!
DJ Patil@dj44 · White House Chief Data Scientist
Hey #USA! Great to be here & talking about the President's drive to responsibly unleash the power of data to benefit all Americans!
Hello DJ, thanks for taking our questions. 1. Where do you look for emerging trends (e.g. sources, events, websites, etc.) and 2. What kind of tools do you currently use?
DJ Patil@dj44 · White House Chief Data Scientist
@candriopoulos My favorite site to look for data is You'll find almost 200,000 data sets! Everything from weather data to health care data. It's a phenominal resource. For trends, my favorite thing is to go to meetups. There are great ones on tech, data, etc. This weekend, it was awesome to hang out with Charlotte, Miami, and St. Louis and see how cities are using data in novel ways. To learn more about it, check out: The other thing that I'm luck to have is time with the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. The are not only amazing in their specialties, but also that they are a great sounding board. The best thig there is to check out their reports.
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein ·
If you had to nominate 3 tech leaders from Silicon Valley to run for President of the United States for 2020, who'd you pick and why?
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
Hello DJ, so great to meet you here. 1) What were the challenges of being the first Chief data scientist on a national level? 2)How would you say your work is drastically different from private sector ( data related work) ? 3) What are the must know skills to be a proficient data scientist? Thanks a lot.
DJ Patil@dj44 · White House Chief Data Scientist
@neeeharika Well first, I had to learn to tie a tie. There are many more knots now days… The biggest challenge is how you prioritize your time. There are so many incredible things to work on! (Did you know that we’ll have the 1st White House Organ Summit on Monday? The best part is how focused the President is on making sure we deliver on our commitments. It’s very much like a startup. You have to work in ambiguity, create clarity, and always be shipping! Most of all the big shift is you really have to think about the edge cases. Every edge case is a person. That person has a name, a family, and a story. We can never forget that. I’ve got some of those people’s pictures and letters around my desk as a reminder that we have to think deeply about everything we do.
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein ·
a. What was your main motivation for going into public service instead of starting up a new company or joining Apple/Google/Facebook/a rising startup? b. Any plans for starting a new company following your tenure in the White House?
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
What has most surprised you about being the United States' first Chief Data Scientist?
DJ Patil@dj44 · White House Chief Data Scientist
@ems_hodge The most awesome thing is how amazing America really is. If you want to get a sense of power of our remarkable country, hang out at a science fair. We just had one here at the White House and I was amazed at the work all these “kids” are doing. They’re literally figuring out how to deal with everything from preventing renal failure to launching two young girls who figured out how to launch a toy into space. When we bring the full force of the United States of America to solve a problem, we can do wonders! That’s why the President has us so focused on the Precision Medicine Initiative and the Cancer Moonshot.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
What advice would you give to someone looking to work for the government?
DJ Patil@dj44 · White House Chief Data Scientist
@ems_hodge It's awesome. The most important thing to do is understand why people made the decisions that they did. 2nd, you have to always focus on the big picutre and the unintended consequences of your actions/choices. Finally, always remember who you're fighting for. Get away from your desk and talk to the people you really work for-- the public.
Lesley Wu@deleted-407305
No answer...
Thomas R Stone@thomasrorystone · Co-founder, PredictionIO
Hey DJ, Before RelateIQ you were at Greylock as "Data Scientist in Residence". Given your experience at Greylock what are you thoughts on potential of using data to make better investment decisions? Is there potential to better understand different factors (Team, Product and Market), especially in early stage private companies? Who do you think are the leaders in this respect (Correlation Ventures, Google Ventures, etc..)? My company PredictionIO is now part of SalesforceIQ (i.e., RelateIQ) and heard lots of VCs were early adopters! Thanks for doing the AMA. Thomas
Mukul Bagga@indianmarketeer · Founder and CEO, DigiBridge Healthcare
In the cancer moon shot - which single technology/initiative would you bet your money on?
DJ Patil@dj44 · White House Chief Data Scientist
@indianmarketeer Data! Check out the President's approach to his Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) PMI is the launching pad for many of the health initiatives that we’ll want to go after. The first being cancer! Associated with this are going to be the need for privacy and security. Check out what we’ve done on that here  And The biggest bet at the end of the day is now having particpatnts as true partners in research. Empowering them with their own data is key.
(((K. Dickson)))@kldneuro · Grad student
@indianmarketeer Not just data but experiments properly designed to get good data. Great data gets thrown out all the time because the experiment and analysis wasn't just right.
Alden Marshall@aldenmarshall · Lover of politics and beta testing
Is it better to be data driven or data informed?
DJ Patil@dj44 · White House Chief Data Scientist
@aldenmarshall There's only one thing that bad and that what we call being data-stupid. That’s when you take the human out of the loop. Data driven organization: A data-driven organization acquires, processes, and leverages data in a timely fashion to create efficiencies, iterate on and develop new products, and navigate the competitive landscape. Data driven government: Data-driven government responsibly gathers, processes, leverages, and releases data in a timely fashion to enable transparency, create efficiencies, provides security, foster innovation In both of these models data is used to make better decisions. There is always a time when you may need to ignore the data. But when that happens, you have to have the ability to monitor and meaure to allow you to iterate FAST!
priya joseph@ayirpelle · Entrepreneur
How do we get you to do a tech venture fund that is Cuba focused out of USCTO's office? Such a greenfield infrastructure opportunity is almost once in a lifetime.
Jay Chen@chenjay12 · CEO,
DJ, I run a startup focus on healthy pregnancy and healthy mommy. I have 2 questions: a.) What are the resources we can tap into from the federal government. E.g. access to population health data related the pregnancy, babycare, etc. b.) Once President Obama leaves office, how will the next administration impact the programs at your office. Will it continue?
DJ Patil@dj44 · White House Chief Data Scientist
@chenjay12 Check out the awesome datasets from CMS; We’re focused on how these efforts will continue. To get a sense of this, check out the great work by GSA and 18F: There are also what are called Executive Orders (EO). For example, the President’s EOs on: All data must be open and machine readable by default Creating the Presidential Innovation Fellows The National Strategic Computing Initiative:
Jay Chen@chenjay12 · CEO,
@dj44 DJ, thanks for the response! Good luck for the remaining of your tenure.
Jay Chen@chenjay12 · CEO,
@kldneuro Thank you for answering additional data sources!
Tuan Dang@tuanldang
Hi DJ, I am a fan. Thanks for taking questions. How can we use data science / technology to help with cancer treatment? How can we attract tech talents / startups to go in the healthcare field to disrupt and innovate?
DJ Patil@dj44 · White House Chief Data Scientist
@tuanldang Thanks! The biggest thing we have to do is break down the data silos! To much of the data is locked up. Locked up from the patient, locked up from the researcher, locked up from the care team. We unlock the data and we'll find insights that will accelerate tailored treatments at an incredible pace. This is why the President launched the Precision Medicine Inititative and then the Cancer Moonshot.
David D. LaCroix@daviddlacroix · Director of Operations, Versatile PhD
Hopefully, sophisticated compilers, users, and consumers of data and information have given up saying things like, "It speaks for itself." But when you do encounter that point of view, how do you make sure to keep the context, assumptions, and ideas behind data and information from slipping out of sight?
David D. LaCroix@daviddlacroix · Director of Operations, Versatile PhD
... especially in regulatory and policy settings, but also in more nuts-and-bolts settings where one might be helping a client or user.
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
Thanks for joining, DJ! So many questions: 1) Whose idea was it to create this position? 2) Were you appointed and how long is your term? 3) What did you do before this role? What's next?
Ed Parkes@edtparkes
Hi DJ. What do you think are the key things that non-data people in Government need to know about data science? How can we support them to make the most of the opportunity of these new techniques? Cheers.
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
Hi DJ. How do you take data and turn them into meaningful narratives that people can care about?
We also appreciate as a repository! What are your favorite repositories to recommend for scientists and engineers to upload their data, protocols, etc. INTO for open, transparent, reproducible science - where there's not already a disciplinary consensus? Dataverse? Zenodo? Or, what are your prime criteria for repository selection? So: 1) Where would you like to see the long tail of science live? 2) Are there platforms that you think are great examples of ways to take those data out for exercise?