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Medical Data-Crunching

Jeffrey Hammerbacher has charted a course from Bear Stearns in 2005 to Facebook in 2006 to Cloudera in 2008, notes Steve Lohr in an adapted excerpt from his book Data-ism: The Revolution Transforming Decision Making, Consumer Behavior, and Almost Everything Else appearing in the New York Times. At each point along the way Hammerbacher has used math and data science, tools he's now applying to medicine.

As Lohr reports, Eric Schadt recruited Hammerbacher to Mount Sinai as part of the school's bid to make medicine more data-driven, and Hammerbacher, after dealing with a personal health crisis, was interested in pursuing such an approach.

At Mount Sinai, he is developing computational pipelines to make it, for instance, easier — and thus cheaper — to personalize cancer treatments based on the variants in a patient's tumor.

"We are trying to move medicine in the direction of climatology and physics; disciplines that are far more advanced and mature quantitatively," Schadt tells Lohr.