Ex-Facebook data scientist to headline CodeShow

Former Facebook data scientist Jeff Hammerbacher will give the keynote at CodeShow 2015.

The Charleston Digital Corridor has unveiled its lineup for its CodeShow conference on May 21, and the cast is peppered with experts and data scientists from companies ranging from Google to HashiCorp.

But the star of the event at the Charleston Museum is keynote speaker Jeff Hammerbacher, who is credited with coining the term “data scientist,” according to Forbes.

He created the first formal data team at Facebook, and under his leadership, the social network was able to analyze the ocean of information across users’ profiles and understand how people were using the site. He’s the reason Facebook was able to create and begin profiting from a targeted advertising system.

Hammerbacher left the social media giant in 2008 to establish Cloudera, an independent firm that helps companies around the world with similar tasks — storing and analyzing their massive loads of data. It uses Hadoop, an open-source data analytics tool developed by Google, to detect trends and extract significant pieces of information.

Cloudera announced last year it raised $900 million, including a $740 million investment from tech giant Intel. Reuters said the round placed the company at a $4.1 billion valuation.

At CodeShow, Hammerbacher will discuss how he’s employing data science in medical research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

“It gives the conference a depth and breadth beyond just coding and tech, but makes it real to everyone involved how important these technologies are,” said Joe Bryan, spokesman for the Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation.

Kevin Eichelberger, CEO of Blue Acorn and a foundation board member, added that having Hammerbacher on the conference roster illustrates how Charleston’s innovation hub is on the map.

“When you have someone of this caliber speaking at an event like this, it does speak volumes of the Charleston tech scene,” he said. “When he in his own right can have been a keynote speaker at any conference anywhere around the world ... it just goes to show that really smart, talented people are drawn to Charleston.”

The spring conference, now in its second year, will center on emerging technologies in cloud-based computing.

Tickets are $349 until April 1, when they increase to $399. A limited number of student passes are available for for $99.

Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail