We have a very exciting talk this month by Dr. Nina Zumel (http://ninazumel.com/), a principal consultant and co-founder at Win-Vector LLC (http://win-vector.com/), a data science consulting firm based in San Francisco. She is also the co-author, with Dr. John Mount (http://www.win-vector.com/site/staff/john-mount/), of Practical Data Science with R (http://www.manning.com/zumel/) and a contributor to the popular Win-Vector blog (http://www.win-vector.com/blog/). When she isn’t working, she also likes to dance and read folklore and ghost stories.
Differential privacy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differential_privacy) was originally developed to facilitate secure analysis over sensitive data. It’s back in the news again now, with exciting (http://arxiv.org/abs/1411.2664) results (https://www.sciencemag.org/content/349/6248/636.abstract) from Cynthia Dwork, et. al. that apply results from differential privacy to improve machine learning performance. Nina will give a brief introduction to the ideas behind differential privacy, and review how differential privacy can be used to enable safer re-use of holdout data in machine learning. She will also show how differential privacy can be used to improve effects coding: that is, how you can build efficient encodings of categorical variables with many levels, without introducing additional bias into modeling procedures.
Over the past month or so, the Win-Vector blog (http://www.win-vector.com/blog/) has featured a series of posts on differential privacy (http://www.win-vector.com/blog/2015/11/our-differential-privacy-mini-series/), if you want to learn more. The Win-Vector blog is one of my favorite applied machine learning / data science blogs. It offers clear, yet very in-depth technical articles on a number of interesting and practical data science topics. It's not just "yet another data science blog"... :)
The meetup will be hosted at the new SF office for Metis (http://www.thisismetis.com/), which offers project-based data science bootcamps and professional development training.
We will also have pizza, thanks for support from Metis!