Keynote Presentations

Weapons of Math Destruction

Presenter: Cathy O'Neil, Ph.D.

February 13, 2017
8:00–8:45 a.m.

Cathy O'Neil defines Weapons of Math Destruction, a class of algorithms that have the potential to destroy lives, increase inequality, and threaten democracy.

Cathy is the author of the New York Times bestselling Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inquality and Threatens Democracy, which was also a semifinalist for the National Book Award.


Cathy O'Neil earned a Ph.D. in math from Harvard, was a postdoctoral fellow in the MIT math department, and a professor at Barnard College where she published a number of research papers in arithmetic algebraic geometry. She then switched over to the private sector, working as a quantitative analyst for the hedge fund D.E. Shaw in the middle of the credit crisis, and then for RiskMetrics, a risk software company that assesses risk for the holdings of hedge funds and banks. She left finance in 2011 and started working as a data scientist in the New York start-up scene, building models that predicted people’s purchases and clicks.

Cathy wrote Doing Data Science in 2013 and launched the Lede Program in Data Journalism at Columbia in 2014. She is a weekly guest on the Slate Money podcast.

The New Literacy: The Skills and Insights You Need in the Information Economy

Presenter: Donald Farmer, Principal

TreeHive Strategy

February 15, 2017
8:00–8:45 a.m.

When it comes to data literacy, we live in the middle ages, when only a small elite enjoy the access and skills to use the available resources effectively. However, this situation is changing rapidly, as users take control of their own information and a new generation emerges with a greater understanding of the potential of data to inform decisions.

Just as societies are transformed economically and socially by literacy, so are businesses when conversations and decisions are informed by a sound and widely shared understanding of data.

In this keynote, we’ll explore what you and your teams need to transform data literacy in your organization. With insights from library science, cognitive research and case studies from around the world, we’ll show you how to enhance data literacy and how to work with the increased information flow and exchange of ideas that will result.


Donald Farmer is an internationally respected speaker and writer, with over 30 years experience in data management and analytics. His background is very diverse, having applied data analysis techniques in scenarios ranging from fish-farming to archaeology. He has worked in award-winning startups in the UK and Iceland, spent 15 years at Microsoft and at Qlik leading teams designing and developing new enterprise capabilities in data integration, data mining, self-service analytics and visualization.

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TDWI Las Vegas

Caesars Palace
Las Vegas, NV
February 12–17