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Ben Wellington  

Data Scientist; Leader in the Open Data Movement of NYC

Ben Wellington runs the I Quant NY blog, in which he crunches city-released data to find out what's really going on in the Big Apple. To date he has tackled topics such as measles outbreaks in New York City schools, analyzed how companies like Airbnb are really doing in NYC, and asked questions such as "does gentrification cause a reduction in laundromats?" (Answer: inconclusive.)

Ben is a visiting assistant professor in the City & Regional Planning program at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn; his day job involves working as a quantitative analyst at the investment management firm, Two Sigma. A budding comedian and performer, he also teaches team building workshops through Cherub Improv, a non-profit that uses improv comedy for social good.

Speech Topics

Shaping a City with Open Data.

Across the world, the Open Data movement is growing and more and more cities are releasing data to the public. As citizens push for more openness, it is fair to ask: what can we do with all of this data to make our cities better? In this talk, I’ll explore how I’ve used my blog, I Quant NY, and some Data Science techniques to make changes in the city I live in: New York City. From parking ticket geography, to restaurant inspection scores to subway and taxi pricing, I will discuss best practices for data science in the policy space, explore how story telling is an important aspect of data science and highlight the various data-driven interactions I've had with City agencies that have led to infrastructure and policy changes. Along the way, I will point out that data science need not always use complicated math and complex programs. I will show examples of the power of simple arithmetic, and show how often it is more about your curiosity and the questions you ask than the complexity of the equations you use

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