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Robert O’Brien

“Market Engineering and Information Reuse: An overview of the New Zealand Data Commons.”

Robert O’Brien, New Zealand


Technology driving big data analytics are now mainstream commodities and machine learning infrastructure is following suit. Yet to make use of these technology stacks and the associated utility computing requires access to data and algorithmic know-how. The Data Commons aims to enable access to new classes of data— data often locked away due to concerns for privacy, misuse, quality, lack of consent, or anticipated proprietary interest. We want to create network markets for data and functions across different organisations to facilitate the flow of information. Organisations often with competing interests and concerns. The aim is trusted and efficient reuse of data across many domains-of-interests; to build an ecosystem of data-services that can be dynamically composed in an accountable and transparent manner. The talk will survey various attempts at sharing data for public good, then cover the motivation, objectives, and architecture of the Data Commons; illustrating where it fits in the digital technology landscape.

Wednesday 7th February 2018 – 1:15 pm – 1:45 pm


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Robert is a software alchemist; a designer, a distributed systems engineer and financial cryptographer. He has worked on high-performance reliable transaction systems for investment banks, insurers, financial market data providers and trading venues. Robert has co-founded three companies in accounting, data integration/analytics, and international trade payments. In addition to designing and developing data pipelines, he focuses on privacy, computational law and commercial contracting as it relates to the use of data.

Robert is based in Tauranga, New Zealand



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