About

My name is Will Wolf – a technologist from Philadelphia. I currently live in Casablanca, Morocco where I’m pursuing an open-source “masters” in machine learning. Just before, I worked as a Data Scientist at ShopKeep in New York City, and mentored Data Science and Programming in Python for Thinkful. I’m passionate about mathematics, cycling, language and travel.

I studied Industrial Engineering and Mathematics at Penn State University. There, I played ice hockey, enjoyed math classes more than most, and spent two years writing an Honors thesis on game theory and group dynamics with Dr. Eli Byrne. I graduated in December 2011.

As a teenager, I was what I call a semi-professional internet poker player: I deposited $50 onto Full Tilt Poker at age 15, and spent the following years building this sum into roughly $150,000. For me, poker was an academic and intellectually fascinating endeavor. More than anything, it was a job. I typically played 4-8 tables simultaneously. In addition to playing, I coached several players from around the world through virtual platforms.

After completing my studies, I began what became a 26.5-month solo backpacking and cycling trip around the world, visiting roughly 40 countries on 5 continents. I traveled overland from Sweden to Côte D’Ivoire, taught university Spanish and middle school Physics, in French, in Guinea-Conakry, and pedaled a bicycle 7,600 kilometers from Turkey to Kyrgyzstan through the Caucasus and Central Asian “Stan’s,” to name a few of my proudest achievements.

Upon return, I quickly fell in love with data science and machine learning; I moved to NYC and purposed my time accordingly. Soon after, I began working at LiveAuctioneers – a company building an online platform through which online bidders can participate in live auctions – where I built an internally-facing machine learning service to categorize auction items. I then joined ShopKeep, where I worked on a wide variety of machine learning and data infrastructure problems to empower small businesses. Part-time, I mentor Data Science and Python for Thinkful, and recently finished some consulting work for Data-Pop Alliance.

As a technologist, I work frequently with the following tools: the Python scientific and inferential stack, Amazon Web Services, SQL, git, Flask, and a heavy handful of machine learning and statistical techniques. I work periodically with many more: Scala, Apache Spark, React and R to name a few. I believe it crucial to be able to both build models and production-ize one’s own solutions.

As a human, I carry a deep passion for cycling and language. I speak fluent Spanish and am boyishly passionate about all things Latin America. I speak ~fluent French from time spent in Morocco and West Africa. Cycling – in New York City or through Central Asian deserts alike – makes me smile from ear to ear.

Travel is a big part of who I am. I’ve been to over 60 countries and believe strongly in the concrete, extraordinary value of traveling abroad. In addition, I’m active in the global CouchSurfing community as a guest, host, and event participant. My profile can be found here.

While I’m not sure where I plan to go with machine learning, I do not plan to stop. Ultimately, I’d like to improve lives, predict world events, and inform human-scale problems that actually matter.

 

8 thoughts on “About

  1. Wow! Your journey looks so cool, why did you decide to stop? Right now I’m nomading around as a freelance developer and looking for meaning for my trip. At some point I’d love to cycle through Latin America.

    1. I love this comment. Finding meaning in your trip is critical. To your question, I was ready to apply myself to something new (a job, which immediately became a hobby – Data Science). In addition, my brother was a 4th-year collegiate athlete, and I wanted to catch a few more of his games with my family.

      1. Sorry for the late response, I didn’t receive the notification. I would love teach code while traveling. I believe in the power of technological education, my plan is to have a bus and teach young people in Latam to program.

        I really loved your blog about cycling and traveling, super inspiring! Can I send some questions to your email?

  2. Hola un gusto.

    Me gusto que sepas español fluido, pues así podre exponer mis expectativas con real interés en el tutor, me apasiona esta área, aunque aun este novato en la ciencia de datos.
    quiero hacerlo de esta ciencia mi profesión y tener un amplio portafolio de soluciones empresariales para poder tener el éxito anhelado.

    ¿Deseo conocer que tal esta armado el currículo del curso, que tan profundo llegas a enseñar y si este curso me ayudara en mi vida profesional como científico de datos?

    saludos cordiales.

    Elías Mayorga Velásquez.

  3. Hola Will, he llegado desde tu twitter que lo obtuve desde platzi… No voy a poder realizar el curso por falta de dinero (estoy en mi etapa asceta) pero hace un tiempo estoy fascinado con los datos y la dualidad; identidad mundo 3d / identidad digital. Mi hipótesis es que una persona del plano 3d esta ligada a su identidad digital que nace en su email. A partir de su email podemos acceder a toda su información del mundo digital y hacer predicciones futuras basadas en esa información, análisis de datos de comportamiento, etc. Solo pasaba a saludar y dejarte mis saludos. Seguimos investigando, nos vemos por ahí 🙂

    1. Hi Will,

      I am Business Administrator and few years ago I linked to the IT sector and there is where I want to stay. I’m normal in maths and zero skills as programmer. So I’ve been looking for an educational program that fits the profile I want to specialized in: data analysis and business intelligence.

      I’d love to know your opinion about the next pensum I found from an online University of Spain:

      http://www.eadic.com/documentos-informativos/Master-Big-Data.pdf

      I appreciate your time and feedback.

    2. Mil gracias Cristian! Cómo dice Aristotle, “somos lo que hacemos repetidamente.” Y entre más tiempo que pasamos en internet…

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