OCLC/Kilgour Lecture will Feature Andrew Fiore of Facebook Discussing "The Limits of Data Science at Scale"

February 24, 2015

The 10th annual OCLC/Frederick G. Kilgour Lecture will feature Andrew T. Fiore, Growth and Internet.org Research Manager at Facebook, exploring how traditional and new approaches to data science can be combined to help better understand the motivations behind human behavior.

The lecture, titled "The Limits of Data Science at Scale," is scheduled for March 16 at 3 p.m. at the Carolina Club, Alumni Hall I, in the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A reception will be held immediately after the lecture, which is free and open to the public. 

Data science has emerged as a prominent new field of practice, merging elements of computer science, information science, and social science. While the techniques of data science have proven to be powerful tools for industrial and academic research, they have their limits when it comes to understanding human behavior.

First, the approaches of data science can tell us what people are doing with unprecedented scale and precision, yet these approaches alone often leave us blind to the whys and hows. Combining data science with complementary qualitative and quantitative methods not only allows us to answer different kinds of questions but also gives us the opportunity to understand the human stories behind the data points.

Second, the products of data science are often highly tailored to specific contexts. To derive durable findings that generalize from known and well-understood situations to unknown and poorly understood situations, we need to incorporate theories and modeling approaches from the social sciences. By combining new methods with traditional ones, we can capture a fuller picture of complex phenomena than would be possible with either alone.

Andrew T. Fiore leads Growth and Internet.org Research for Facebook, including a program of research to understand and measure the benefits, risks, and barriers to adoption of information and communication technology in emerging markets. His past work at Facebook, UC Berkeley, the MIT Media Lab, and Microsoft Research has focused on the social psychology of computer-mediated communication in contexts such as Facebook groups, Usenet newsgroups, and online dating sites. He holds a Ph.D. from the UC Berkeley School of Information and master’s degrees in statistics from UC Berkeley and media arts and sciences from MIT.

About OCLC Online Computer Library Center

Founded in 1967, OCLC is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world’s information and reducing information costs. More than 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and territories around the world have used OCLC services for cataloging, reference, resource sharing, eContent, preservation, library management and Web services. OCLC and its worldwide member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, making it the world’s largest and richest database of bibliographic information. OCLC publishes the Dewey Decimal Classification system, the most widely used library classification system in the world. OCLC is headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, USA and has over 1200 employees worldwide. For more information about OCLC, visit: www.oclc.org.