What Should A Data Scientist Know?

That’s the question that a group of data scientists from industry and academia discussed over dinner on 14 December 2018 at the NUSS Suntec City Guild House.  We were fortunate to have Marianne Winslett, a professor emerita of computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, to open the event with a keynote address. We see the role of SIGKDD as contributing to identifying and building the skills required for data science professionals.  Though simple and direct answers to such a complex question are elusive, the discussions were fruitful and pointed us in the right direction. It was also a chance for us to reflect and regroup as a community.


Marianne Winslett (UIUC) gave her take on the question, including the need for standards to ensure that professionals could build something that’d work, the need for a realistic mindset aware of the limitations of statistics, as well as the attention to ethical issues


In between dinner courses, we had breakout discussions on the topic, moderated by Giuseppe Manai (Chapter Secretary)


Though it was not by deliberate design, one table had primarily industry professionals, which brought forth issues on how to hire and select the right data scientists


The other table just happened to have many academicians, with discussions touching on the skills and competencies of data scientists


Hady Lauw (Chapter Chair) closed the event, summarizing the noted points for future follow-ups.


A fruitful discussion over a satisfying dinner with a growing community.  From left: Cheng Long (NTU), Aixin Sun (NTU), Yuchen Li (SMU), Serene Ow (Grab), Graham Williams (Microsoft), Joao Gama (DataRobot), Giuseppe Manai (Chapter Secretary, ING FutureLabs Ventures), Xiaoli Li (I2R), Aloysius Lim (Chapter Membership Chair, Eureka AI), Huayu Wu (DBS), Bing Tian Dai (SMU), Jing Jiang (SMU), Marianne Winslett (UIUC), Hady Lauw (Chapter Chair, SMU)



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