On January 31, 2014 engineering.columbia.edu announced that Chris Wiggins, associate professor of applied mathematics at Columbia's Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering, a founding member of the University’s Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (C2B2), and co-founder of hackNY, was appointed chief data scientist by The New York Times.
“ 'The New York Times is creating a machine learning group to help learn from data about the content it produces and the way readers consume and navigate that content,' says Wiggins. 'As a highly trafficked site with a broad diversity of typical user patterns, the New York Times has a tremendous opportunity to listen to its readers at web scale.”
" 'Data science in general and machine learning in particular are becoming central to the way we understand our customers and improve our products,' adds Marc Frons, chief information officer of The New York Times. 'We're thrilled to have Chris leading that effort.'
"Wiggins, whose activities at Columbia range from bioinformatics to mentoring activities to keep students off “the street” (Wall) by helping them join New York City’s exploding tech startup community, focuses his research on applications of machine learning to real-world data.
“ 'The dominant challenges in science and in business are becoming more and more data science challenges,' Wiggins explains. 'Solving these problems and training the next generation of data scientists is at the heart of the mission of Columbia’s Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering.'
"In creating the Institute, the University is drawing upon its extraordinary strengths in interdisciplinary research: nine schools across Columbia are collaborating on a broad range of research projects. Wiggins and his colleagues at the Engineering School are integrating mathematical, statistical, and computer science advances with a broad range of fields: 'We’re enabling better health care, smarter cities, more secure communications, and developing the future of journalism and media.' " (http://engineering.columbia.edu/ny-times-taps-prof-wiggins-chief-data-scientist, accessed 02-15-2014).