Cathy O'Neil


Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 12:00pm to 1:30pm


CGIS Knafel 354 (

Cathy O'Neil earned a Ph.D. in math from Harvard, was postdoc at the MIT math department, and a professor at Barnard College where she published a number of research papers in arithmetic algebraic geometry. After switching to the private sector, Cathy worked as a quant 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. For the last couple years she's been a data scientist in the New York start-up scene. She writes a blog at and is involved with the #Occupy Wall Street Alternative Banking Working Group.

Check out her recent interview with Russ Roberts on EconTalk here:

Abstract: In this talk I will discuss the common problems data nerds face when they work in industry. Those include problems that academic statisticians face, of course, but also extend to other kinds of communication and political problems. Moreover, considering the cultural effects of widespread mathematical modeling, the general inaccessibility of mathematical models from the point of the view of the public, and the general blind trust the average person has in mathematics, it's potentially a pretty big deal. Let's try to categorize the risks and start coming up with ways to address them through setting standards for modeling as well as through educating the public.