Optum and the DatSci Awards

By Peter Cogan, Associate Director, Data Science, Optum

I’m excited because I feel we are building something special here at Optum. We’re part of the UnitedHealth Group family of businesses and we’re bringing together Data Scientists, Analysts and Engineers in our new hub at Spencer Dock, helping Optum to cement its position as the world’s leading data-driven healthcare services company.

I have spent the last 15 years working with advanced tooling and complex data sets in many academic and industrial areas, within a domain that is now known as Data Science. It has been incredibly exciting to observe machine learning techniques emerge from university labs, mature into widely-used open source tools, and merge with big data tooling such as Spark and H20.

Data science in general, and machine learning in particular, have become an integral component of cutting edge solutions across a multitude of industries including telecommunications, retail, banking, insurance etc. Although it has become quick and easy to bring the latest technologies to bear on real world problems through open-source tooling, I personally feel we are only scratching the surface of what can be achieved.

The next big challenge is to find better ways to integrate what we can accomplish with data and machine learning algorithms into business processes to ensure all elements of the business are data-driven. Demonstration of progress in this final step will no doubt be a significant contributing factor in winning the 2016 Data Scientist of the Year Award at this year’s Data Science Awards.

I’m excited to be a part of the awards event. Optum, as a newcomer on the scene here in Dublin, felt that the Data Science Awards represented a unique opportunity to introduce ourselves.

The Awards give everybody involved the chance to celebrate the value and passion of data scientists across the country. Be they lone-members in a startup, part of a big team in a multi-national, or embedded in a research organisation at a university, the Data Science Awards has a multitude of categories which ensures that all passionate data scientists have a chance at recognition of their talent. These opportunities gel with Optum’s values and help ensure data scientists get the recognition they deserve.

I personally feel that data science is in the midst of a very exciting journey in Ireland. Outside of Silicon Valley, Ireland is probably the most exciting place to be doing data science right now. Irish people have an innate sense of curiosity, which is arguably the most important hidden talent a data scientist can bring to bear on any kind of problem. It is also a skill that is nearly impossible to learn. The Data Science Awards will bring national and international recognition to the varied and fascinating work being done by data scientists in Ireland.

Optum – Title Sponsor of the DatSci Awards 

V4 sponsor optum