Getting to know the awesome mentor line-up – Part 1

Mentors are an integral part of a great datathon. This is why for #GlobalDatathon2018, we have invested a lot of effort to bring together a great group of mentors with diverse backgrounds, experience, and superpowers. So… undoubtedly we would like to brag about them and show them our appreciation 🙂
In this sequence of articles we will do our best to introduce them to you, so you can get the most out of the #GlobalDatathon2018 experience. Without further ado, here is the first group of mentors:


Miguel de Castro Neto

Miguel de Castro Neto is an Assistant Professor and Associate Dean @ NOVA Information Management School (NOVA IMS). He is also the President of the Pedagogical Council and Coordinator of the Post-Graduation in Smart Cities.
Miguel was Secretary of State of Spatial Planning and Nature Conservation in the XIX and XX Portuguese Government and Smart Cities Personality of the Year (Green Business Week 2017 / Fundação AIP).
Miguel is the founder and Vice-President of the Data Science Portuguese Association and is presently President of the Portuguese Engineers Professional Association Agronomy College, coordinator of the Group Cities and Spatial Planning in the think tank Sustainable Growth Platform and President of the Festival Terras Sem Sombra Curators Board.
He develops his research and teaching in the field of Business Intelligence and Smart Cities.

Tomislav KrizanTomislav Križan

Tomislav Križan, who will mentor teams in the field of AI, is a Chief Product Officer, Founder and Owner of Atomic Intelligence d.o.o. in Croatia. He is a Big Data practitioner in different LOB’s and a Certified Enterprise and Solution Architect. Tomislav is joining as a datathon mentor for the second time.
Tomislav is an experienced specialist with wide knowledge of classical databases (Oracle, MS SQL, Sybase) or Big Data databases (Hive, Impala, HAWQ, to name just few), SQL/PLSQL, managing advanced data integration tools and solutions such as Informatica Platform (Data integration, Data Quality, MDM, Real-time integration, Complex Event Processing) and reporting tools and solutions such as Tableau, Cognos BI, MS Reporting Services+MS Analysis Services and more. He is always interested in promoting Data Integration as not just ETL tool/project, but rather much more.
His focus for the last few years was on Big Data spectrum, where he engaged in many custom implementations, utilizing not just data ingestion and processing systems, but even more focusing on Data Mining and Machine Learning algorithms and frameworks/platforms to support product or project need (from customer-centric need towards M2M needs of processing/deciding in everyday line of business) over vast amount of internal and external data (public and private as well).
Tomislav Križan said about the previous Datathon:

“From all finalists we did see good and novel approach… also those who didn’t arrive to finals, were also really close … so good job to all teams!”

Thomas Roca

Thomas Roca is a Data Strategist at Microsoft & LinkedIn within the Government Affairs team. He conducts research about the future of work, the impact of Artificial Intelligence and automation on the labor market, leveraging LinkedIn Economic Graph data. Thomas’ favorite field of research is at the crossroads between data-science and socio-economic analysis. Thomas’s area of expertise covers Natural Language processing and computer vision, Python, SQL, Javascript. Thomas also gives data-training for the United Nation System Staff College in collaboration with Data-Pop Alliance (ODI, MIT media Lab, Harvard HHI).
In his previous roles, Thomas was a researcher and statistician, then Data Officer at the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) – France’s Bilateral Cooperation Bank. He leads a research program on alternative welfare indicators, Big Data for Development and data visualization, with MIT media lab, Orange and Data-Pop Alliance as partners. He developed AFD’s data portal to help inform development practitioners about the economic and social situation of developing countries.
Thomas also spent time at the United Nations in New York, contributing to the Human Development Reports (2015 and 2010). He also taught Economics in Hungary, Vietnam, and Kurdistan. Thomas holds a PhD in Development Economics from Bordeaux University and a MSC in Economics from University Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne.

Boryana Bogdanova

Boryana Bogdanova is an Associate Professor at the Department of Statistics and Econometrics as well as the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. She is also a co-founder of the MSc Program in Business Analytics at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
Her research interests are in the field of Empirical Finance, International Financial Markets, Time Series Analysis, Wavelet Analysis, Data Mining. She has core papers published in reputable international journals. Among others, Boryana Bogdanova holds a first prize from a national research contest in the field of International Finance, organized by the Economic Policy Institute.

Nishant ChandraNishant Chandra

Dr. Nishant Chandra will join the #GlobalDatathon2018 as a NLP and Deep Learning Mentor. He is a Data Science Leader at AIG, India. He is also joining as a datathon mentor for the second time. His words about the experience were:


“What intrigued me the most was that there were some teams which were formed by the organizers (meaning there was no prior dynamics between the team members) and also that some members were remote but they were able to perform very good.”

Dr. Nishant Chandra has driven machine learning and natural language innovation in BFSI, e-commerce, R&D, and mobile telecom industries in USA and India. He developed and implemented natural language predictive models that are deployed in top banks and telecom companies, resulting in significant impact across the value chain.
For his contributions, Dr. Chandra was acknowledged as one of the top 10 data scientists in India. He has received the prestigious Barrier fellowship and several other awards and recognition. The Department of Homeland Security, of the United States Government has classified Dr. Chandra as an outstanding researcher.
He was the conference session chair for the GSPx conference inSan Jose, California. He has also been a reviewer for IEEE transactions, served in the editorial board of Human Language Technology conference, and a speaker at several international conferences. Nishant also has five assigned patents and several journal and conference publications. Dr. Chandra is a passionate puzzler who invents puzzles and has represented India in the World Puzzle Championship in Stamford, Connecticut. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Mississippi State University.

Pavel NikolovPavel Nikolov

Pavel Nikolov is a Senior Business Analyst at VMware, an active member of Data Science Society and a datathon mentor for the second time.
The Power of Analytics is disrupting the way of doing business! The data-driven economy is here and making discoveries while swimming in big data is what Pavel does best!
Pavel has knowledge and experience with the following platforms: MATLAB, Apache Spark, Anaconda, Quantum, R. He also has experience with the programming languages MATLAB, Python, SparkSQL, C, Quantum, R, JavaScript. Furthermore, he has experience with development environments such as Eclipse C/C++, MS Visual Studio, Sublime Text.
Pavel performed mathematical modeling with MATLAB, Apache Spark, Ipython Notebook, NumPy, SciPy, Matplotlib and Pandas. He is interested in Data Science, Machine Learning, Segmentation, Stochastic Models, Predictive Models, State Estimators, Kalman Filter Linear Regression, Logarithmic Regression, Polynomial Regression, AR, MA, ARX, ARMAX, LS, WLS, Step-Wise Regression, and Data Visualization.

Stay tuned for more of our amazing mentors and don’t forget to book your ticket before September 24 at!

You can read the rest of the articles here: Part 2, Part 3

The companies, providing the cases are: Telenor, OntotextKaufland, National Statistical Institute in Bulgaria and Telelink

We would like to thank our sponsors Telelink, WorldQuant, ReceiptBank and ADataPro for their support!

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