Keynote Speakers
Nowcasting the Macroeconomy with Search Engine Data

Hal Varian, Google Inc.

Abstract: It is now possible to acquire real time information on economic variables of interest from various commercial sources. I illustrate how one can use Google Trends data to measure the state of the macroeconomy in various sectors, and discuss some of the ramifications for research and policy.

Bio: Hal R. Varian is the Chief Economist at Google. He started in May 2002 as a consultant and has been involved in many aspects of the company, including auction design, econometric, finance, corporate strategy and public policy.

He is also an emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley in three departments: business, economics, and information management. He received his S.B. degree from MIT in 1969 and his MA and Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1973. Professor Varian has published numerous papers in economic theory, econometrics, industrial organization, public finance, and the economics of information technology.

The Secret Life of Social Links

Hilary Mason,bitly

Abstract: The social web is a messy place! At bitly, we see hundreds of millions of shares and clicks per day—clicks that contain all sorts of wonderful content from lolcats to spacecraft launches. I'll discuss our philosophy, tools, and techniques for looking at the data, and new research opportunities that weren't possible before.

Bio: Hilary Mason is the Chief Scientist at, where she finds sense in vast data sets. Her work involves both pure research and development of product-focused features.

She's also a co-founder of HackNY (, a non-profit organization that connects talented student hackers from around the world with startups in NYC.

Hilary recently started the data science blog Dataists ( and is a member of hacker collective NYC Resistor.