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What the Obama Campaign's Chief Data Scientist Is Up to Now

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By all accounts, Rayid Ghani's data work for President Obama's reelection campaign was brilliant and unprecedented. Ghani probably could have written a ticket to work at any company in the world, or simply collected speaking fees for a few years telling companies how to harness the power of data like the campaign did.

But instead, Ghani headed to the University of Chicago to bring sophisticated data analysis to difficult social problems. Working with Computation Institute and the Harris School of Public Policy, Ghani will serve as the chief data scientist for the Urban Center for Computation and Data.

Before the campaign, Ghani said that he found it difficult to use his data skills for social good. There were plenty of corporate jobs that wanted people who could do analytics, but not many non-profits. "The reason I got on the campaign is that I was trying to connect things I cared about with what I was good at. I wanted to use analytics and data for social problems," he said. "But when the campaign was done, I was back in the same place."

Read more at The Atlantic.

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti. He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press). Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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