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What are your top ten favorite movies of all time? This is a very difficult question. But why? Irmak Sirer explains the challenges of measuring how much we like movies, books, songs, or products; combining insights from diverse sources like the Netflix Prize, Duncan Watts' social experiments, or the beginnings of Facebook. The better we get at measuring and ranking levels of enjoyment, the better we can customize websites, sort search results, find other people with similar tastes, and recommend products, so can we overcome these challenges? Drumroll... Yes, we can.
Irmak is a partner and data scientist at Datascope Analytics, where he has helped companies across industries solve problems with data, from small companies to members of the Fortune 50. He also conducted and published academic research on a wide range of topics, including student choices in public schools, web browsing behavior of masses, global airline networks, species conservation in ecology, language topic models, and optimizing DNA sequences for high gene expression among others. Technically, Irmak is a Material Scientist (BS and MS, Sabanci University, Turkey), Chemical and Biological Engineer (MS and PhD, Northwestern University) and an Art Historian (Minor, Sabanci University). Practically, he believes in merging knowledge from different disciplines to ask and answer the right questions. When he is not striving for this, he believes in movies, bourbon, and Elliott Smith.