Microsoft Distinguished Engineer to Talk ‘The Data Economy’ Nov. 13

James Whittaker, Former Florida Tech Professor, Offers Free Presentations 

MELBOURNE, FLA. — James Whittaker, a former Florida Institute of Technology professor who has worked for the FBI, Google and Microsoft, where he is currently the company’s Distinguished Engineer, will make two free presentations Thursday, Nov. 13 as part of the Visiting Entrepreneur Program of the Nathan Bisk College of Business.

In a presentation for students, Whittaker will offer, “The Data Economy,” from 11 a.m. to noon in the Hartley Room at the university’s Denius Student Center. At 6 p.m. in the same location, he will present the talk again. The evening session is preceded by a reception beginning at 5 p.m.

Both events are free and open to the public, but RSVPs are required. Email Sharon Carnohan at to RSVP for the morning presentation; email Donna Cassario at to RSVP for the evening reception and presentation.

According to Whittaker, “data is the new oil and the economy around data is the new industrial revolution.” He notes that data is being used to influence presidential elections and help determine the outcome of sports tournaments.

“Companies that possess, refine, store and transmit data are among the wealthiest in the world,” he said. But the browsers and apps we use to consume data have remained unchanged for decades.

In his talk, Whittaker will examine the “near future,” when the way we generate, consume and monetize data will fundamentally change. “This new data economy will determine the winners and losers of the next decade,” he said.

Whittaker’s own career has undergone its share of changes, spanning academia, start-ups and top tech companies.

In 1986 he became the first computer science graduate hired by the FBI, where he was tasked to automate the agency’s caseloads. A decade later he was a software engineering professor at Florida Tech, where he founded the Center for Software Engineering Research, which later became the Center for Information Assurance.

At Florida Tech, he authored a series of best-selling books on how to break software code. In 2002 his security work was spun off by the university into a startup which was later acquired by the defense contractor Raytheon.

In 2006, he went to work for Microsoft, later departing for a job at Google. In 2012 he returned to Microsoft, where he is now a sought-after speaker entertaining and informing audiences around the world.

He can be followed on Twitter @docjamesw.


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