Meet Andrew Van Benschoten

Andrew Van Benschoten

What is your personal & professional background?

I'm a recovering academic: I earned my Bachelors degree in Biology from MIT, then went to the University of California - San Francisco for a Ph.D in Biophysics. I graduated in 2015, right when data science was emerging as the hot new career in Silicon Valley. Since my thesis leveraged a significant amount of computational biology it seemed like a perfect fit, and I joined the Insight Data Science Fellows program to help with my transition. From there I went to Oracle (digital advertising), Target (data measurement & telemetry plus lots of DevOps) and am now the Head of Data Science at Ovative Group (back to digital advertising).

How did you get connected with the Matrix Profile and MPF?

At Target, Frankie and I worked on a team responsible for detecting anomalies across thousands of disparate time series, from key business metrics to server farm performance stats. This led us to discover the Matrix Profile and ultimately open-source the original matrixprofile-ts library. This then led to subsequent connections with other authors of matrix profile implementations. After a few months of working together we decided to make things more official and form a cohesive, unified group known as the Matrix Profile Foundation.

What do you do at MPF?

I play the role of CEO on our leadership board.: My primary job is to facilitate development of MPF's vision & direction, and then identify the right strategy to get us there. However, I'm also an organizational nerd which means I double as our unofficial Scrum Master. And I still do a little Python programming wherever possible.

What excites you about the future of Matrix Profile and the MPF?

Big Data is only getting bigger. We're just scratching the surface of IoT and connected applications, which means that there will be a massive need for high-performing algorithms both now and in the future. I'm a little biased, but I think there's a 5% chance that Matrix Profile will be the "next big thing" in Data Science, and I'm excited to help bring that to fruition. It's also been a great experience being a part of the broader Open Source community and engaging with so many fascinating applications.