new speakers | December 19, 2012

Big Data Speaker Sean Gourley: The Mathematics Of War [VIDEO]

Does knowing your timetables give you insight into the nature of human conflict? Not exactly, but Ted Fellow and big data speaker Sean Gourley—who our newest exclusive speakeris using data and algorithms to understand the fatality and frequency of attacks during battle. In other words—he is charting the mathematics of war. As he explains in his popular TED Talk, from the outside, the conflicts currently taking place throughout the world seem incomprehensible to us. However, when he looked closely at the news reports he was inundated with every day, he realized there was a great deal of data that he could use to make sense of it all. He thought to himself: "If we can get enough of these streams of information together, we can perhaps start to understand the war." And that's exactly what he did. As he explains in his talks, all of the information we need to make sense of what's going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other war-torn regions is readily available to us—and he has developed a method of organizing and attributing meaning to it.

Gourley is a Rhodes Scholar, a trained physicist, and the founder of the big data company Quid. As one of the fastest growing companies in Silicon Valley, Quid builds software to augment human intelligence and provides insight into understanding everything from political protests to high frequency trading. He has provided his revolutionary insights to a range of clients spanning from Fortune 500 companies to NASA to The Pentagon. In his speeches he unpacks his fascinating research and provides audiences with invaluable insight into understanding war. Further, he can expand his talk to explain how the data surrounding us is chock-full of valuable information about a wide range of topics—all we have to do, he says, is know where to look.

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