Policy Conference

| Washington, DC Conference Program



8:00 AM – Registration


8:15 AM – Demos open


8:45 AM – Welcome and Opening Remarks

Daniel Castro (Director, Center for Data Innovation)


9:00 AM – Keynote: An Update on Data Innovation from the White House

Nick Sinai (U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer)

In 2013, the White House was involved in a number of initiatives to promote data-driven innovation, including the Open Data Policy and a series of public-private collaborations around data. U.S. Deputy CTO Nick Sinai will discuss what is next for the White House in this area in 2014.

9:30 AM – Panel: The Data Economy

Panelists: Francine Berman (Chair, Research Data Alliance / U.S.; Edward P. Hamilton Distinguished Professor in Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Paul Zolfaghari (President, MicroStrategy), Joel Gurin (Senior Advisor, NYU GovLab). Moderator: Brock Meeks (Editor-in-Chief, Ideas Lab)

This panel will explore the economic value of data, both big and small, in the public and private sector. Participants will discuss how businesses in a wide variety of industries use data to create new products and services, how researchers use data for scientific discovery, and how government agencies can maximize the value of the data they release.


10:30 AM – Break for demos


11:00 AM – Keynote: Making the World’s Language Data Useful (Slides)

Macduff Hughes (Director of Engineering, Google Translate)

Google Translate serves over a billion translations daily to hundreds of millions of users using eighty languages. In this talk, Mr. Hughes will look at the data that powers the system, how getting more data affects translation quality, and how people are using automated translation.


11:30 AM – Panel: Health Care Analytics

Panelists: Niall Brennan (Acting Director, Offices of Enterprise Management, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), Russ Cucina (Medical Director of Information Technology, UCSF), Marcia Kean (Chairman, Strategic Initiatives, Feinstein Kean Healthcare), Nina Preuss (Program Manager, Neuroimaging Informatics Tools &  Resources Clearinghouse). Moderator: Kendra Casey Plank (Senior Editor, Bloomberg BNA)

An incredible amount of health data is now available from clinical trials, insurance claims, hospital quality surveys, drug interaction studies, and patient-generated sources. If health care providers, pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies can put this data to work, they stand to reap enormous benefits. But the road will not be easy: legal, political and cultural barriers stand in the way of organizations making better use of their data. This panel will explore the challenges and opportunities for large-scale data analysis in health care.


12:30 PM – Lightning Talk: The White House Open Data Policy — A Case Study in Open, Collaborative Governance (Slides)

Ben Balter (Government Evangelist, GitHub)

In May, the White House released a government-wide open data policy, which was published as a living, collaborative document using freely available open source tools. Since its publication, more than 60 authors, both public and private, have contributed nearly 400 improvements, with the full revision history made available for all to see.


12:35 PM – Lightning Talk: Creating the Opportunity for Personalized Public Policy at the Massive Data Institute (Slides)

Edward Montgomery (Dean, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University)

Dean Montgomery will discuss the current opportunity at the intersection of massive data and public policy and how researchers at the Georgetown University’s McCourt School are positioning themselves to revolutionize evidenced-based public policy and to empower citizens and the government to end one-size-fits-all policies and create policies designed for specific individuals.


12:40 PM – Lightning Talk: Data on the Move (Slides)

Chris Whong (Data Solutions Architect, Socrata)

Data visualizer Chris Whong transforms raw data tables into beautiful finished products. See how visualizations and animations make data tell its story.


12:45 PM – Break


1:00 PM – Lunch Keynote: Why the Census? Big Data from the Enlightenment to Today (Slides)

Eric Newburger (Assistant to the Associate Director of Communications, U.S. Census Bureau)

The 1790 Census of the United States may have been the world’s first big data problem. Yet with the dissemination of computing technology throughout our economy, private firms have begun to create datasets that, at least in sheer volume, may dwarf those coming out of the Census Bureau and other statistical agencies. Does the Census still have a place in our modern world?


1:30 PM – Panel: Smart Cities

Panelists: Michael Flowers (Former Chief Analytics Officer, City of New York), Ian Kalin (Director of Open Data, Socrata), Timothy Paydos (Industry Leader, World Wide Government Big Data Industry Team, IBM). Moderator: Paul Barbagallo (Managing Editor, Bloomberg BNA)

From Austin to Zurich, cities around the world are using data to improve local government, build smart infrastructure, and make communities better places to live. This panel will discuss the opportunities for both the private sector and municipal leaders to use data to cut costs and provide better services to their citizens.


2:30 PM – Break for demos


3:00 PM – Conclusion




Code for DC




The Sunlight Foundation

Weather Analytics


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