Continuing my interviews with some speakers ahead of this year’s Machine Learning Summit in San Fransico, I spoke to Sam Zimmerman, Freebird Inc. CTO and co-founder. Zimmerman is a backend software developer and data scientist with extensive experience in the commercial application of machine learning algorithms. Prior to Freebird, Sam worked as a quantitative risk analyst in the currency markets and as a team leader automating a large-scale data classification problem for an energy intelligence company.

Sam is a Duke University graduate and works on a grant with MIT’s Computational Cognitive Science group to extend decision theory using advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence. Freebird empowers travelers to instantly rebook their flight in three touches on their mobile phone in the event of a cancellation, delay, or missed connection.

For decades, the travel industry has relied on reactive travel insurance claim filing. However, Freebird has introduced a proactive rebooking solution based on data science and mobile technology to help get folks to the places that matter most.

Since my co-founder Ethan Bernstein and I launched Freebird in 2015, we’ve raised $8.5 million from Accomplice and General Catalyst, partnered with companies that book over $30 billion in travel annually, and have grown our team to over 20 exceptionally talented and curious people in Cambridge, MA. It’s important to know what you need.

Most companies have a need for the tools and techniques variously labeled as data science right now, but each company’s needs can be quite different. I like to think that a company navigating this confusing mashup of skills and techniques must feel a bit like being one of the first people to own a car at the beginning of the 20th century. Read more from…

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