At Kiip, we hire the best and brightest. That’s why Chris Gore is on board as Kiip’s data scientist. Below, he shares his thoughts on the field itself, his role in it and the eternal feud: NSYNC vs. Backstreet Boys.
Me: When did you start here?
Chris: The first week of November, 2014. So I’ve been here for seven months now.
You’re Kiip’s primary data scientist. So to begin, what is data science?
It’s a newer term, but the principals have been around for a while. In a sentence, data science is a way to learn the nature of systems from empirical data, put structure around things you are uncertain about and optimize these systems through experiments.
It’s becoming an increasingly popular field due to the influx of so much data from large-scale internet companies. Luckily, that influx has driven the cost of data storage down. And because it’s so cheap now, people have found interesting ways to leverage the data. The basic thought process is: If you have lots of data and it’s not very expensive to manage it, why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of that?
Tell me about the projects you’ve worked on so far.
When I first came in, we worked on our data warehouse. Since then, I’ve been working on a model for predicting responses to rewards within the Kiip network.
What advice would you give for someone who wants to study data science?
Always keep learning and get as much hands-on experience as you can.
There’s a lot of reading involved, and tons of resources on the internet where you can dive right in. Check out Coursera, a free online class started by Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller. The first class Coursera offered was a Machine Learning class. I recommend it – you can join and follow along with the Stanford class.
You also need to work on data projects with real sets and data objectives. You’ll learn invaluable information through this.
Now on to fun stuff. What do you do when you’re not at work?
I like to bike and run around Lake Merritt.
Lake Merritt, huh? So Oakland > SF?
Yeah. I like that there’s more nature, especially around the lake. It’s a nice balance – not suburban, but not as dense as San Francisco.
What’s your poison of choice?
American craft beer. When I lived in Michigan, there were great breweries, like Bell’s Brewery. I used to be really into IPAs, but in the last year or two I’ve developed an affinity for sours.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Some of the research I did a few years ago. I did a paper on schizophrenia when I was getting into machine learning. It’s called, “Pathological Effects of Cortical Architecture on Working Memory in Schizophrenia.”
NSYNC or Backstreet Boys?
* chuckles * They’re both so great, I don’t think I could pick.
Then … what’s your soundtrack at work?
I listen to classical or electronic – music with lyrics is distracting. Though I’ve been playing Jamie xx’s In Colour album a lot recently.
What’s something i don’t know about you?
I went by Dan/Daniel up until a few years ago, which is my middle name.
Well, the more you know! Thanks for the interview, Dan.
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