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Blackett Memorial Lecture

The Society is pleased to announce that the 2015 Blackett Memorial Lecture will be given by

Kenneth Cukier

Data Editor for the Economist


Abstract: "Big data" is everywhere -- but seems like a faddish term evoking complete nonsense. More data? It just confounds faster! The idea that throwing more data at a problem can magically produce an answer is abhorrent to the traditional operational research and statistics profession. Yet it is true that there are more data than ever and new techniques to make sense of it. Computers and algorithms can do things that were previously impossible to imagine. So what actually is big data and what does it mean for the OR community? Kenneth Cukier, the data editor of The Economist and coauthor of the bestselling book "Big Data," will defend big data against the naysayers. In a talk aimed at a general audience but of particular interest to specialists, he argues that big data is the most important development of our lifetime, on par with the printing press. Whether one agrees, big data must be understood by OR professionals to remain relevant.

Bio: Kenneth Cukier is the Data Editor of The Economist in London and the co-author of the award-winning book “Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think” with Viktor Mayer-Schönberger in 2013, a New York Times Bestseller translated into 20 languages. He is a regular commentator on BBC, CNN, and NPR, and a member of the World Economic Forum's council on data-driven development. In 2002-04, Mr. Cukier was a research fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He is a board director of International Bridges to Justice and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


on Thursday 26 November 2015

at Grocers’ Hall, Princes Street, London, EC2R 8AD

Grocers’ Hall is situated in the heart of the City of London in a private courtyard opposite the Bank of England. A one minute walk from Bank Station (exit 1), which is served by the Central, Circle, District and Northern Underground lines as well as the Docklands Light Railway and Waterloo and City line. Moorgate, Liverpool Street and Cannon Street British Rail stations are all just a five minute walk away.

(Title and abstract to be advised.)

Lecture at 4.30 pm
(Tea and biscuits at 4.00 pm; Drinks reception after the lecture)

There is no charge for attendance at this event. To register and receive joining instructions, please CLICK HERE to book online. If you have any queries, please contact Hilary Wilkes on Please note that places are limited, book up very quickly and therefore are on a first come first served basis.


For information on the 2014 and previous lectures, take a look under Watch / Listen / Download. For information on the origins of the lectures see 'Background to Blackett Lectures'.