4th International Conference on
Big Data for Official Statistics
Organized by the UN Global Working Group, DANE and the Colombian Ministry for ICT

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Speaker Bios

Day 1 - Morning

Alexandre Barbosa
Head, Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society (CETIC)

Responsible for several nationwide ICT surveys and research projects on the socioeconomic implications of ICTs in Brazil. Coordinates regional capacity building programs on survey methodology along with UN ECLAC (United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean) and A4AI (Alliance for Affordable Internet) in the Latin America region and Lusophone countries of Africa. Chair of the Expert Group on ICT indicators for households at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and member of the International Advisory Board of the Global Kids Online project leaded by the Unicef and the London School of Economics-LSE.

Author and co-author of several articles published in journals and book chapters on topics related to digital inclusion, implications of ICT in education, ICT in health and e-government. He holds a PhD degree in Business Administration from the Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil) with a postdoctoral degree from HEC Montreal (Canada), a Master's degrees in Business Administration from the University of Bradford (UK) and in Computer Science from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil) and a degree in Electrical Engineering from the Catholic University (Brazil).

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Niels Ploug
Director, Statistics Denmark

Niels Ploug is an economist and the Director of Social Statistics at Statistics Denmark since 2008. Before that, he worked for many years as the Research Director at The Danish National Institute of Social Research. He is also an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen, Department of Economics. He’s been engaged in the work of the GWG on Big Data since its start – and is also involved in the development of the use of Big Data at the European level – as well as in the development of quality standards for multisource statistics as the leader of a Eurostat ESSnet on this issue.

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Heather Savory
Deputy National Statistician, Office of National Statistics

Heather joined the Office for National Statistics as Deputy National Statistician and Director General for Data Capability in May 2015. She has a strong commercial track-record and extensive board and senior management experience in entrepreneurial and high technology businesses, consulting and central government.

Heather was appointed as Chair of the Open Data User Group (ODUG), an independent advisory group to the Government’s Public Sector Transparency Board, for three years from May 2012; she was also a member of the Regulatory Board of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Previously, Heather worked at 3Dlabs as Vice President of Engineering and Operations and eComData as Managing Director. More recently, Heather worked at the centre of UK Government, spending two years in HM Treasury and three in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills at the Better Regulation Executive (BRE).

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Albrecht Wirthmann
Deputy Head of Big Data team, Eurostat

As geographer specialised in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing, Albrecht has long standing experience in big data processing. In the 80s 5 GB, which is the size of a Landsat Thematic Mapper satellite scene, was considered as big data.

At the German national statistical office and later at Eurostat, he worked in the domains of environmental and economic accounting, regional statistics and Geographic Information Systems, information society statistics before he joined the newly created Big Data group at Eurostat. His main task there is implementing the Big Data action plan and roadmap at the level of the European Statistical System. Albrecht is active in several task teams of the Global Working Group on Big Data of the UN.

In his leisure time he loves contributing to the data deluge with devices, such as activity trackers, smart phones or smart home devices, creating structured records of health and other measurement data or unstructured audio and video files.

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Ivo Havinga
Assistant Director of Economic Statistics, United Nations Statistics Division

Ivo C. Havinga is Assistant Director of Economic Statistics at the United Nations Statistics Division/Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNSD/DESA) since 2003 and is overall responsible for the domains of national accounts (System of National Accounts) and environmental-economic accounts (System of Environmental–Economic Accounts) and related economic and environment statistics.

As part of the senior management team of the United Nations Statistics Division, he is closely involved in the work of the Friends of the Chair on the Broader Measures of Progress and maintains an active dialogue with national statistical systems, United Nations bodies and the policy sphere to ensure that a robust statistical measurement approach is incorporated from the outset in preparations of the post-2015 development agenda.

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Alla Morrison
Development Data Group, World Bank

In her current role in the World Bank’s Development Data Group, Alla manages a pilot program to support collaborative innovations in development data and advises governments on digital development policies. She leads teams that conduct research and provide technical assistance on open data, data innovation and digital economy to low- and middle-income countries. In her previous role in the World Bank’s Open Finances team, she opened the Bank’s financial and procurement data, built partnerships with global Big Data for Development leaders, and led mobilization of resources to support digital data ecosystems in developing countries. In her ‘pre-data’ professional life, she built an international company in East Asia and worked in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Financial Advisory practice. Alla holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Georgetown University and a Master of Arts in German Literature degree from St. Petersburg State University in Russia.

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Fessou Emessan Lawson
Officer-In-Charge, Statistical Capacity Building Division. African Development Bank

Fessou Emessan Lawson is an economist and financial statistician and currently Officer-In-Charge of the Statistical Capacity Building Division at the African Development Bank (AfDB) which he joined 18 years ago. He first worked as Senior Business Data Analyst, and then National Strategies for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) Program Coordinator and recorded a 10-year experience in the assessment, design, implementation of and technical assistance on NSDS for more than 23 countries. His expertise covers also technical assistance on statistical leadership, as well as the design of Country Statistical Profiles (CStP), Country Policy and Institutional Assessments (CPIA), Resource Mobilization, Results-Based Monitoring and Assessment Processes, and Performance-Based Allocation of Resources to AfDB’s Regional Member Countries.

Prior to joining AfDB, he consulted for the World Bank, the UNDP and the UNIDO in National Accounts, Population forecasting and Industrial Statistics. He was also a lecturer in Stochastic Processes.

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Aditya Agrawal
Director, Data Ecosystems Development, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD)

As Director for Data Ecosystems Development, Aditya Agrawal leads the GPSDD in its country level engagement on developing whole-of-government and multi-stakeholder data ecosystem approaches in the context of the data revolution for sustainable development. This includes better understanding the political and technical issues countries are facing on how to achieve the SDGs, both within a reporting and monitoring framework, and how data can be applied for decision-making and action. The GPSDD consists of more than 250 organizations globally, across sectors, and through this network, the Data Ecosystems Team works to identify new partnerships, methods and innovation that bring data sources together including official statistics, open data, citizen-generated-data, big data and geospatial and earth observation data to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Mr. Agrawal has over 15 years of experience working on programs focused on the use of data in both developed and developing country contexts and across a range of sectors including academia, private sector and government.

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Emmanuel Letouzé
Director and co-Founder, Data-Pop Alliance

Dr Emmanuel Letouzé is the Director and co-Founder of Data-Pop Alliance, a coalition on Big Data and development created in 2013 by the Media Lab, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and the Overseas Development Institute, joined in 2016 by Flowminder. He is a Visiting Scholar at MIT Media Lab and a Research Associate at ODI and HHI. He is a co-Founder and the Program Director of the Open Algorithms (OPAL) project, and has served on the Program Committee of the 1st and 2nd editions of the UN World Data Forum. He is the author of UN Global Pulse’s White Paper “Big Data for Development” (2012) and his work has since then focused on the applications and implications of data for development and democracy, especially related to official statistics, poverty, demography, crime, violence, privacy and ethics. He worked as a Development Economist for UNDP in New York from 2006-09 on fiscal policy, post-conflict economic recovery and migration, and in 2000-04 as a technical assistant in public finance and official statistics for the French Ministry of Finance in Hanoi, Vietnam. He holds a BA in Political Science and an MA in Economic Demography from Sciences Po Paris, an MA in International Affairs specialized in Economic Development from Columbia University, where he was a Fulbright Fellow, and a PhD in Demography from UC Berkeley, where his dissertation focused on the use of cell-phone data for demo-economic research. He is also a political cartoonist as ‘Manu’ and an invited member of professional association The Cartoon Movement.

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Day 1 - Afternoon

James Patava
VP of Public Affairs & International Relations, World Council on City Data (WCCD)

James Patava has worked for almost a decade in senior leadership positions at progressive NGOs and not-for-profits in both North America and Europe. With a decidedly global focus, his current role at the Toronto-based World Council on City Data places him in almost daily contact with some of the most sustainable, smart, resilient, prosperous and inclusive cities from around the world. His work also helps to showcase the fundamental and transformative nature of city data in furthering the smart city agenda. He is a passionate public affairs professional with a keen understanding of the global nuances of story-telling and stakeholder outreach. James was educated at McGill University in Montreal.

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Ronald Jansen
Assistant Director, United Nations Statistics Division

Ronald Jansen is Assistant Director of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) in New York. He is leading the thematic area of measurement of international trade and economic globalization, including tourism statistics, and coordinates the management of the international statistical standards and compilation guidance in these areas. His branch maintains the UN Comtrade database (see http://comtrade.un.org).

He regularly represents UNSD at international meetings dealing with topics, such as measuring global value chains, integrating business and trade statistics, the classification of broad economic categories, business functions classification, statistical business registers and tourism statistics. Since 2014, he is also co-leading the Division’s work on the use of Big Data for official statistics to support the monitoring of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

His educational background is in Statistics and Psychology, graduated in 1984 at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He taught Statistics at the University of Nijmegen from 1984 till 1989 and obtained a PhD in mathematical modelling of human information processing in 1990.

He joined the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) in June 1990.

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Joaquim Barris
Head of Registry and Analytics Team, UNFCCC

Since 2014, Joaquim Barris has worked as a statistician at UNFCCC developing models, algorithms, dashboards, and different data tools. Joaquim has previously worked in management and senior positions in analytical marketing companies, in the banking and valuation industries, and in the pharmaceutical industry.

Joaquim has a Doctorate and Master's degree in urban valuations, a Master's degree in biostatistics and a Master's degree in software engineering and artificial intelligence, and is currently enrolled in a Big Data and Data Science Master.

Joaquim has also won several innovation awards during his professional career.

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Manuel Francisco Lemos
General Manager, ESRI

Industrial Engineer from Universidad de los Andes - Bogotá, Colombia, with a Master's Degree in Geographic Information Systems from the University of Redlands - Redlands, California, USA.

During the last 17 years, Manuel Francisco Lemos has worked in technology companies, performing as Financial Manager, Commercial Manager and General Manager as well as member of various board of directors in the same field . Since 2014 Manuel Francisco has been the General Manager of Esri Colombia.

The National Government of Colombia recognized him in 2017 with the "Julio Garavito Order of Merit" in the "Caballero Degree", for its dedication in achieving to build a better country with the use of Geographic Information Systems.

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Diastika Rahwidiati
Deputy Head, Pulse Lab Jakarta

Diastika Rahwidiati is passionate about civic innovation, and especially interested in the thinkers, doers and fixers that create positive change across Indonesia. As Deputy Head of Office for Pulse Lab Jakarta, she connects ethnographers, social activists and technologists to the Lab's big data research projects to add local context and encourage the diffusion of the technologies they embody. With over 14 years' experience in international development assistance, she has delivered projects in education, policy-relevant research, and civil society support.

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Bert Kroese
Deputy Director-General and CIO at Statistics Netherlands

Internationally, he is:

  • Co-chair of the European Vision Implementation Group (VIG)
  • Chair of the UN Committee of Experts on Environmental-Economic Accounting (UNCEEA)
  • Co-chair of the Executive Board of the High-Level Group on Modernisation (HLG-MOS)

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Setia Pramana
Data Scientist, Institute of Statistics, Indonesia

Experience with Biostatistics Bioinformatics, Genomics Microarray, Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), Big Data Analytics, Deep Learning, Computational Statistics, Data Mining, R and SAS. Worked on OncoGenomics: Analysis of Microarray and Next Generation Sequencing for breast, prostate and colorectal cancers; Computational Statistics and Data Mining: Methodology and statistical software development using R; Big Data Analytics: BigData analytics for different applications: Official Statistics, genomics, etc.

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Esteban Pelaez
Project coordinator, Fundacion Corona

Esteban is a Political Scientist with a MA in International Studies from the Universidad de los Andes. He currently coordinates Citizen Engagement and Open Data projects in the Fundación Corona.

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Day 2 - Morning

Brant Zwiefel
Managing Director, Strategic Innovation for the Microsoft’s Worldwide Industry group

Brant Zwiefel leads the Connected Industry Framework and Trusted Technologies initiatives, which orchestrates customer and partner engagement across Worldwide Industry in close partnership with Microsoft Research and Product Engineering. Brant has over 20 years of experience designing and building systems of engagement and operations in retail, financial services, pharma/medtech, healthcare and government for Microsoft, IBM and several venture-funded startups.

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Dan Bogdanov
Head, Privacy Technologies Department, Cybernetica AS

Dr. Dan Bogdanov is the inventor of Sharemind, a secure multi-party computation system for collecting, sharing and processing private data. He has been a research team lead for multiple privacy technology research projects with the United States DARPA, European FP7 and Horizon 2020. He is the co-author of the ISO/IEC 29101 standard on the architecture of privacy-preserving systems and the ISO/IEC 19592 standard on secret sharing.

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Mark Craddock
Data Scientist,Office of National Statistics, UK

Mark contributed to the Cloud First policy for the UK Public sector and was one of the founding architects for the UK Governments G-Cloud programme. Mark developed the initial CloudStore which enabled the UK Public Sector to procure cloud services from over 2,500 suppliers. The UK Public Sector has now purchased over £2.3Bn of cloud services, with £1.2Bn from Small to Medium Enterprises in the UK.

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Carlos Leon
Technical Head, Open Data team, Ministry of ICT, Colombia

Systems Engineer with a Master in Organization Administration; He has nine years of experience in the formulation, execution and management of technology-based projects, innovation, entrepreneurship and consulting. He is a member of the team of the Digital Government Directorate of the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications of Colombia, supporting since January 2016 the open data initiative as the technical leader of the open data portal of the Colombian state - www.datos.gov.co.

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Momar Kouta
Principal Statistician, African Development Bank

Prior experience:

  • 8 years experiences on Database management, data modeling, data dissemination and data exchange
  • Provide support to African countries to successful implement AIH initiative
  • Assist counties to success eGDDS implementation using the Open Data Platform as Data submission Tool to international partners(as IMF)
  • Using SDMX to facilitate and reduce data reporting burden through the AIH Open Data platform


  • Master 2 on IT Engineering and Information and Communication Technologies in 2010 at University Gaston Berger of Saint Louis (Senegal)

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Kerrie Mengersen
Professor, Queensland University of Technology

Distinguished Professor Kerrie Mengersen is a statistician whose research interests are in Bayesian and other modern methods for statistical modelling and computation. She currently holds a Chair in Statistics at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. Professor Mengersen has maintained an active collaborative and consultancy profile in both the development of statistical methods and in their application to a wide variety of problems in environment, health and industry. Professor Mengersen is an ARC Laureate Fellow and is a Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers, which aims for research excellence and its translation to collaborative domains in Healthy People, Sustainable Environments and Prosperous Societies. For the past decade Kerrie has led the Bayesian Research and Applications Group (BRAG) which aims to engage in world-class, relevant fundamental and collaborative statistical research, training and application through Bayesian and other modern methods.

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Zhou Wei
Senior Statistician, National Bureau of Statistics, China

Mr. Zhou Wei is a senior statistician working with the Department of Rural Surveys, National Bureau of Statistics of China. He has gained over 25 years experience in agricultural statistics, especially in the area of sample design and estimation for crop surveys. In recent years, he works in the area of remote sensing application on crop statistics. He obtained a master's degree in statistics and a doctorate in cartology and GIS.

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Day 2 - Afternoon

Michael Holt
Data Analyst of CPI, Australian Bureau of Statistics

Michael Holt has worked in the Prices Branch at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for over five years. During this time, he has held a variety of analytical roles related to the quarterly CPI publication. More recently he has led a research team into enhancing the Australian CPI including the application of new methods for compiling price indexes from transactions (scanner) data.

Michael holds hold a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Queensland (2012), and Bachelor of Applied Economics (First class honours) from the University of Canberra (2015).

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Jonathan Wylie
Chief - Alternative Data Sources, Consumer Prices Division, Statistics Canada

Jonathan Wylie is the Chief of the alternative data sources project for the Consumer Prices Division at Statistics Canada. He is a member of the UN Global Working Group on Big Data Scanner Data Task Team. He leads a team responsible for the integration of scanner data and online data into the Consumer Price Index. Jonathan joined the Consumer Prices Division in 2012 after spending 6 years in the Census of Agriculture.

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Dana Childerhose
VP of Operations, Nielsen

Dana Childerhose serves a VP operations Nielsen Canada, Buy Group. Dana leads all aspect of Operations focusing on data quality, profitability and client focused delivery solutions in support of growth strategies.

Dana was appointed to this position in Jan 2015, and is based in Markham, Ontario, Canada.

Dana joined the Nielsen operations team in 1989 as a management trainee, a leadership development role facilitating extensive cross functional operational experiences. She transitioned to managing the Operations client delivery team in 1992. In 1994 Dana took the opportunity to move to a client analyst role and began working closely with Nielsen's largest FMCG manufacturing and retail partners leveraging data to address key business challenges. Dana's success in client engagement lead to a leadership role in 2004, as VP Client Services, overseeing commercial teams responsible for some of Nielsen's key manufacturer clients. In 2015 Dana moved back to Operations to take on the VP Operations role, and is now leading execution for the Canadian organization. She sits on both the Canadian Leadership team, and market cluster Operations Leadership team.

Dana also worked with the Network of Executive Women (NEW) as they launched a Toronto Chapter in 2011. She served as a Regional Officer- Treasurer, leading the local team to a 2014 NEW finance award of Excellence.

Dana holds a Business Degree form York University in Toronto, Canada.

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Juan David Olarte Torres
Head of Planning and Sectoral Studies at Ministry of ICT of Colombia

Mr. Juan David Olarte Torres is an Economist with a Political Science degree from Universidad de los Andes, specializing in Development Projects. He was a financial analyst for a consulting enterprise (1 year), Adviser to the Director of the Statistics National Institute (DANE) in Colombia (1 year), Adviser to the Colciencias Regionalization Office (3 years), Head of the ICT Fund Office of the ICT Ministry (9 years), and currently serves as Head of the Planning and Sectoral Studies of Ministry of ICT. His work experience has allowed him to consolidate knowledge in different areas such as planning, budgeting, knowledge management, evaluation, project management and execution, regional management and resource management.

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Julieth Solano
Innovation Coordinator, DANE

Professional in Economics and international business of the University ICESI, magister in economy of the National University of Colombia. As innovation coordinator have actively participate in the implementation of DANE's Smart Data strategy to explore the relevance and contribution of non-traditional sources to the production and dissemination of official statistics.

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Fernando Reis
Data Scientist, Eurostat

Fernando Reis is a member of Eurostat big data task-force in charge of developing a strategy for the integration of big data in official statistics at EU level. He's involved in the discussion of strategic issues concerning big data and statistical production, including methodology, quality, skills, ethics, communication, legislation, big data policy and IT infrastructure. He oversees pilot experiments on the use of big data sources for official statistics and conducts some studies himself, namely involving mobile phone data and web activity data.

In Eurostat, before joining the big data task-force, he worked in the modernisation of European social statistics, in particular in the integration of the several European social surveys, and in statistical production in several domains. He was an education statistician in the fields of education expenditure and international student mobility where he was responsible for the international data collection of education expenditure statistics and the development of new indicators on international student mobility. He also worked on the design of the official statistical indicators to follow the progress of the Bologna Process and on the corresponding progress report. In information society statistics, he was responsible for the EU survey on the use of ICT in enterprises, where he was responsible for the international development of the content of the survey, the survey methodology and data analysis.

Before joining Eurostat, he was senior statistician at the National Statistical Institute of Portugal, where he worked in several statistical development projects in new areas, namely business services, audiovisual, communications and information society. He holds a degree in economics from the New University of Lisbon and followed post-graduate studies in statistics and in IT and information management.

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Day 3 - Morning

Javier Jácome
Senior Statistician, DANE

Javier Jácome is a Political Scientist, MSc in Geomatics and MSC in Applied Statistics candidate. He works in the Research and Development Group of the Geostatistics Bureau in DANE. He has academic and professional experience in policy evaluation, conceptualization and data analysis of competitiveness and Geographic Information analysis in Education. Currently, he is focused in Planning and management of services to population from a territorial perspective.

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Cornelia Hammer
Senior Economist, Real Sector Division, IMF

Cornelia L. Hammer joined the IMF Balance of Payments Division in STA in April 2009 where she was part of the Balance of Payments Committee (BOPCOM) Secretariat during 2009–2014, drafted parts of the BPM6 Compilation Guide, and a chapter of the UNECE Guide to Measuring Global Production. Before joining the IMF, she worked seven years as an economist and advisor at the Deutsche Bundesbank and was a member of several European Task Forces. Ms. Hammer recently joined the Real Sector Division as senior economist and is now active in areas including globalization, big data, sectoral accounts and balance sheet statistics, and the G-20 Data Gaps Initiative.

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Marcelo Trindade Pitta
Coordinator of Quantitative Methods, Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society, Brazilian Network Information Center

Responsible for all quantitative processes at Cetic.br, including large national sample design and selection, field data collection control and quality management, data processing, development of data mining and data analytics tools for big data applications. Responsible for running big data pilot project on measuring the digital economy. Author and co-author of several articles published at national and international Conferences and book chapters on topics related to sampling design and statistical modelling. He holds a Master degree in Population Studies and Social Research and a Bachelor degree in Statistics at the National School of Statistical Science (ENCE).

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Irene Salemink
Director of Business Registers, Statistics Netherlands

After my PhD study biochemistry (University of Maastricht) and 1 year post doc researcher at the RUG), I started at CBS in 2000 as a trainee. In my first year as a trainee I helped to design a new sample scheme for the redesigned STS and SBS statistics, the development of new questionnaires and a project on business demography. Thereafter, I started as a statistical researcher at the unit of international trade where the extension of the EU was the main task.

I became head of unit of respectively business economic statistics concerning industry and commercial services and of the unit development and support.

In 2012 I was appointed Director of the department of business registers where I am involved in international projects concerning the European Groups register, profiling, and business architecture. At Statistics Netherlands I am also delegated executive of the Data Lake programme.

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Tim De Jong
Data Scientist, Statistics Netherlands

Tim De Jong was born on 11th of December 1981. In 2005 he graduated from Maastricht University, with a M.Sc. in Artificial Intelligence. Eager to continue in academic research he continued with a PhD in mobile learning at the Open University, which he finished in 2011. After four years of academic research, he pursued a career in software engineering at Maastricht University where he worked four years creating various applications supporting medical research. Nowadays he works as a Data Scientist for the Center of Big Data Statistics of Statistics Netherlands, where his main activities are machine learning and computer vision. He lives with his girlfriend and son in a small village in the south of the Netherlands, where he enjoys spending time with them, cooking for them, playing the guitar and banjo, reading, and tinkering on IT projects outside of work.

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José Antonio Mejía Guerra
Lead Specialist on Modernization, Inter-American Development Bank

José Antonio Mejía Guerra works as Modernization of the State Lead Specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), where he specializes in strengthening of statistical capacity and data on citizen security and violence against women. He holds a master´s degree in Public Policy form Georgetown University and a master´s degree in Economics from George Washington University. He served as Vice president of the first Governing Board of Mexico´s National Statistics and Geography Institute (INEGI) between2008 and 2012. Before that he worked at the IDB for 13 years, where he coordinated the MECOVI Program.

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Ministry of ICT

Edificio Murillo Toro Cra. 8a entre calles 12 y 13, Bogotá

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