DJ Patil has joined the White House to wrangle data issues

DJ Patil, who has held of a number of jobs as a data scientist, most notably at LinkedIn, has joined the White House as a data scientist-in-residence with a focus on helping handle health care data, according to John Podesta, Counselor to the President, on a conference call held Thursday. Podesta said Patil had joined the White House this week during a call related to a White house briefing on how the government should handle data and consumer privacy.

After leaving LinkedIn, Patil took on a few jobs, including as data scientist in residence at Greylock, a venture capital firm. His most recent position — and current one, according to his LinkedIn profile — was as vice president of product at RelateIQ, a customer relationship management startup that was acquired by Salesforce.com in July.

Patil is one of the biggest figures in the data science movement, often crediting for coining the term data scientist. In 2012, Patil co-authored the Harvard Business Review article calling data scientist the sexiest job of the 21st century, helping to spark a hiring frenzy of people with an understanding of data analysis, systems and business concerns.

We’ve reached out to Patil for comment, and will update the story as we learn more. We’ll discuss how another government body, the Federal Trade Commission, plans to deal with the issue of data privacy at Structure Data (March 18-19 in New York) when FTC Commissioner Julie Brill chats on stage with Gigaom legal expert Jeff Roberts.

Here’s a video of Patil, as well as Cloudera’s Jeff Hammerbacher, talking big data and data science at Structure Data 2013.

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