New York Times - "Sizing Up Big Data, Broadening Beyond the Internet"
In his young career, Jeffrey Hammerbacher has been a scout on the frontiers of the data economy. In 2005, Mr. Hammerbacher, then a freshly minted Harvard graduate, did what many math and computing whizzes did. He went to Wall Street as a "quant," building math models for complex financial products. Looking for a better use for his skills, Mr. Hammerbacher departed to Silicon Valley less than a year later and joined Facebook. And after two and a half years, Mr. Hammerbacher decided it was time to move on, beyond social networks and Internet advertising. He became a founder of Cloudera, a start-up that makes software tools for data scientists. Then, starting last summer, Mr. Hammerbacher joined the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai as an assistant professor, exploring genetic and other medical data in search of breakthroughs in disease modeling and treatment. There he is part of a 100-member team at the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology, headed by Eric E. Schadt, PhD, a leading researcher in genomics and biomathematics. "We're trying to move medicine in the direction of climatology and physics; disciplines that are far more advanced and mature quantitatively," says Dr. Schadt. Mr. Hammerbacher says he thinks that medicine, and nearly every other field, will increasingly fall under the sway of what he calls "the numerical imagination," which can be distilled in a question: "What is the story the data tells us?" Learn more