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Data Scientists

History

Data has been collected ever since the first business or organization was founded, but the modern science of data analysis can be traced to an article by the renowned statistician John Tukey (who also coined the word “software”) in “The Future of Data Analysis,” which appeared in The Annals of Mathematical Statistics in 1962. In the article, Tukey wrote “For a long time I have thought I was a statistician, interested in inferences from the particular to the general. But as I have watched mathematical statistics evolve, I have had cause to wonder and to doubt…I have come to feel that my central interest is in data analysis, which I take to include, among other things: procedures for analyzing data, techniques for interpreting the results of such procedures, ways of planning the gathering of data to make its analysis easier, more precise or more accurate, and all the machinery and results of (mathematical) statistics which apply to analyzing data.”

The Association of Computing’s Special Interest Group on Management of Data was founded in 1976 to represent professionals in the growing field of data management and science.

The emergence of personal computers, the Internet, and sophisticated programming languages fueled a massive increase in the amount of data that was collected and the digital tools that were used to collect and analyze this information. By 2013, IBM reported that 90 percent of the world’s data had been created since 2011. Data continues to be collected at an awe-inspiring paceespecially as a result of the emergence of the Internet of Things. Revenue from the sales of Big Data and business analytics applications, tools, and services is expected to grow by more than 50 percent between 2015 and 2019, according to market research firm IDC. Revenue will exceed $187 billion by 2019.

The role of the data scientist has become so important that President Obama named Dr. Dhanurjay Patil as the first ever chief data scientist (and deputy chief technology officer for data policy) in 2015. Dr. Patil and Jeff Hammerbacher (a prominent data scientist) are credited by many with coining the term “data scientist” in 2008.