Life & Science

Making Sense of Data Sets

Hilary mason feature

Innovator and DLD friend Hilary Mason makes sense of vast data sets. Bloomberg Businessweek gives a portrait of a young, inspiring woman who works to bring people and their habits into focus.

Recently, Mason wrote a program to crawl the Web and download menus from New York eateries. This "menu hacking" is just one of her many geeky side-projects. Her day job is leading a team of six data scientists at link-shortener Bitly.

At DLD12 Mason, a self-described nerd, spoke about her strictly data-driven approach and "smart cities of the future". Through analyzing how people interact with their surrounding space – the city they live in – planners and developers can get in touch with the inner flow of the urban heartbeats. Through her work as a computer scientist and data advisor to Mayor Bloomberg of New York, Mason aims to make the best of the East Coast metropolis’ digital potential. “To me, a city is a physical place, but also a place where information flows through. We can manipulate that information to make people's experience better,” she said.

"The human side of constructing cities needs to be combined with the computational approach to better understand the values that have weight in a city so that the community can come up with long-term strategies,” she said on stage at DLD12. In order to achieve this Mason has helped launch HackNY, an initiative that seeks to mobilize and connect creative New Yorker talent and government in order to change the nature of how technology is used.

Preserving the Wonders of Modern Urban Life

You can watch below Hilary Mason at DLD12 discussing smart cities of the future, "From Bauhaus to Data", followed by the "Interview Series".

“A city is a physical place, but also a place where information flows through. Data is one piece of what you need, you also need creativity and infrastructure.” – Hilary Mason

Mentioned in this article

Mason bw
Hilary Mason
VP of Research