We are thrilled to announce that Hilary Mason is the DevCon 2017 keynote speaker! Her talk, “Machine Learning: Past, Present, and Future,” will take place in New Orleans on Monday, July 24.

Hilary Mason Headshot

Hilary Mason, the DevCon 2017 keynote speaker.

Mason is the CEO and Founder of Fast Forward Labs, as well as the Data Scientist in Residence at Accel Partners, a leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm. Fast Forward Labs specializes in applied machine learning research, as well as advising their clients in designing, implementing, and managing their machine learning strategy. “We essentially play the role of nerd best friend,” Mason quipped, “which is honestly one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.”

For those unfamiliar with machine learning, or those who have heard the term but aren’t quite clear on what it is, Mason defines it as “the design of systems that improve with the introduction of more data.”

A decade ago, the conversation was about “Big Data,” or massive amounts of information and the intricacies of making it useful. As technology and infrastructure have improved, so too has the ability to develop systems that allow researchers to gather all of that disparate data into a single source of record to build tools to create informed applications and dashboards for decision-making. To paraphrase Mason, this allows for more robust analytics (counting things), data science (counting things cleverly), and machine learning (counting things cleverly with feedback loops).

Mason’s love for programming began at an early age, and she’s spent her adult life as part of a small group of professionals that defined the discipline of data science. She is also extremely active in the New York City tech scene. She co-founded HackNY, a non-profit that assists engineering students in breaking into the technology industry in the city. She co-hosts DataGotham, an annual gathering of data science professionals, and she is also a member of NYCResistor, a self-described “hacker collective with a shared space located in downtown Brooklyn.”

Hilary served on Mayor Bloomberg’s Technology and Innovation Advisory Council, and has received many accolades and awards for her work, including:

  • Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business 2013
  • Fast Company’s 1000 Most Creative People in Business 2014
  • TechFellows Engineering Leadership Award
  • Fortune’s 40 Under 40 Ones to Watch
  • Crain’s New York Business 40 Under Forty

With these impressive responsibilities, qualifications, and awards, Mason has a full speaking schedule. However, she chose to attend DevCon because of her passion for sharing machine learning with new audiences, and to learn from those in attendance where they see the future of machine learning going.

“I am personally very excited about the opportunity for data science and machine learning in education, and so this is something I really hope to see in the Blackboard Community,” she said.

If you are not able to join Blackboard and Hilary Mason live in New Orleans, you can still hear her thoughts on machine learning in education. Mason will also be part of DevCon LIVE, the streaming broadcast from New Orleans on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 from 9 AM-11 AM central time. Register for DevCon LIVE here.

We’re eager to hear her story and learn about the exciting applications of machine learning!

Register today for BbWorld

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