ISD Lecture

My Summer of Dilettante Data-mining

Tuesday, November 6, 2007
5:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Virgil Griffith, Santa Fe Institute

The web today contains vast amounts of useful information, but it is scattered within a disconnected archipelago of web sites as well as public and private databases. Using both traditional and novel techniques, with small effort one can unite the information from these islands to produce novel, entertaining online services. By fusing information from disparate or little-known databases, I aim to empower everyday users by giving them powerful, promiscuously interoperable digital intelligence tools typically reserved for major corporations. In this talk, I will discuss the glories and ease of amateur data-mining to make the Internet a more interesting place. The talk will also include amusing behind-the-scene WikiScanner anecdotes as well as a how-to for useful data-mining tools.

Virgil Griffith is a first year graduate student in Computation and Neural Systems at the California Institute of Technology. On weekdays he studies evolution, computational neuroscience, and artificial life. On weekends, he makes the Internet a better and more interesting place. Virgil gained notoriety as a freshman in college when the fallout from his first paper caused him to get sued under the Sedition and Espionage Act. Recovering from litigation-related injuries, the following year he dropped out of college to become faculty at the Indiana University School of Informatics. After a stint as faculty, he resumed his undergraduate career at Indiana graduating two years later. Now under the auspice of expensive Caltech lawyers, Virgil has renewed his security research part-time with particular interest in data-mining for the people. In science, his passion is the creation of artificial intelligence and the scientific study of consciousness.

Last updated:

March 26, 2015