As a member of the infamous MIT blackjack team, Jeff Ma created an ingenious method for counting cards – using talent, creativity, math and teamwork to win millions in Las Vegas. (Card counting, by the way, is not illegal; casinos just don’t like it.) Ma was the inspiration for the best-selling book Bringing Down the House and the hit movie, 21, which topped the box office in its first two weeks. He has since helped start several different companies, including GolfSpan.com (sold to Demand Media), CircleLending (sold to Virgin) and Citizen Sports (sold to Yahoo), and become a sought-after speaker. Ma shows companies how to harness the power of numbers to make better bottom-line business decisions that are the difference between winning and losing.
Jake Porway uses big data to tackle big social problems. As the founder of DataKind, he connects and acts as an accessible bridge between data scientists and not-for-profit companies, which often don’t have the know-how or resources to benefit from data analysis.
A former New York Times Data Scientist, Porway was named a 2012 National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and he currently hosts The Numbers Game on the National Geographic channel. He’s both a scientist and a coder, equally excited to pioneer the next machine learning algorithm as he is to optimize the code to run it. He hopes to make machines smarter, and he looks for new ways to help machines make sense of things for the greater good.
Schwarz is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated reporter at The New York Times whose work in public health has been credited with saving lives and improving medical care for thousands of children.
He is best known for his four-year series of more than 100 articles that exposed the seriousness of concussions among athletes of all ages. Schwarz's investigative and profile pieces are generally seen as having revolutionized the respect and protocol for head injuries in almost every major youth and professional sport. His work was profiled in an early 2011 issue of The New Yorker and was described by one Hall of Fame sports writer, Murray Chass, as “the most remarkable feat in sports journalism history.”
Back to Top