Usama Fayyad

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Usama M. Fayyad (born July, 1965) is chairman, co-founder and CTO of ChoozOn Corporation—a mobile and web search engine service under the brand Blue Kangaroo that helps consumers find relevant offers, discounts, and deals through personalization and intelligent matching.

Early life[edit]

Fayyad was born to a Jordanian family in Carthage, Tunisia in July, 1965. Fayyad's family is originally from Gaza.


Fayyad holds BSE's in both electrical and computer engineering (1984); MSE in computer science and engineering (1986); and M.Sc. in mathematics (1989). He also earned his Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1991). Fayyad has published over 100 technical articles in the fields of data mining, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and databases. He holds over 30 patents and is a Fellow of both the AAAI (Association for Advancement of Artificial Intelligence) and the ACM (Association of Computing Machinery). Fayyad has edited two influential books on data mining and he launched and served as editor-in-chief of both the primary scientific journal in the field of data mining (Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery) and the primary newsletter in the technical community published by the ACM: SIGKDD Explorations. He continues to be active in the academic community, serving at Chairman of ACM’s SIGKDD Executive Committee which runs the world’s premiere data science, big data, and data mining conferences: the KDD international annual conferences.[1] Fayyad is a recipient of the ACM SIGKDD Innovation Award (2007) and Service Award (2003) – the only person to receive both awards.

Fayyad is an active angel investor in the U.S. and in the Middle East. He is also part of the U.S. Dept of State Delegation on Entrepreneurship in the Middle East. Fayyad is an active speaker in both academic and business meetings, and regularly delivers keynotes on BigData, Predictive Analytics, Data Mining, Monetization Strategies, and Early-Stage Investment and Acceleration strategies for technology startups.

From 1989 to 1996 Fayyad held a leadership role at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where his work in the analysis and exploration of Big Data in scientific applications (gathered from observatories, remote-sensing platforms and spacecraft) garnered him the top research excellence award that Caltech awards to JPL scientists – The Lew Allen Award for Excellence in Research, as well as a U.S. Government medal from NASA.

Prior to founding his first startup in 2000, Fayyad was at Microsoft for five years. At Microsoft he led the data mining and exploration group at Microsoft Research and headed the data mining products group for Microsoft's server division – especially SQL Server 2000 and Commerce Server 98. Fayyad’s work at Microsoft Research included the development of innovative data mining algorithms that scaled to very large databases and building up a new research program, as well as a new product line for Microsoft.

In early 2000, he co-founded and served as CEO of Audience Science (originally digiMine, Inc.), a data analysis and data mining company that built, operated and hosted data warehouses and web analytics for some of the world's largest enterprises in online publishing, retail, manufacturing, telecommunications and financial services. He led the growth of the company from 3 employees to over 120 employees, raised over $45M in capital from top-tier venture firms, and helped attract the world’s top enterprises as customers. He stepped down as CEO and became Chairman in June 2003 in order to start DMX Group. Audience Science today is the leader in Behavioral Targeting and advertising networks. In 2003 Fayyad co-founded and led DMX Group, a data mining and data strategy consulting and technology company that specialized in Big Data Analytics projects for several Fortune 500 clients. DMX Group was acquired by Yahoo! in 2004.

2004-2008 Fayyad served as Yahoo!'s Chief Data Officer & Executive VP responsible for Yahoo!'s global data strategy, architecting Yahoo!'s data policies and systems, prioritizing data investments, and managing the company's data analytics and data processing infrastructure (which processed over 25 Terabytes of data per day). He was the industry’s first Chief Data Officer. Under his EVP role, Fayyad also founded and managed the Yahoo! Research Labs organization, which became the premier scientific research organization to develop the new sciences of the Internet, on-line marketing, Microeconomics, and algorithmic Advertising. At Yahoo! he applied Big Data techniques to content and advertising targeting and built the world’s largest group of data scientists – helping Yahoo! grow its revenues from user targeting by 20 times in 4 years.

In 2008, Fayyad founded Open Insights, LLC, a data strategy, technology and consulting firm based in Bellevue, WA to help enterprises understand data strategy and deploy data-driven solutions that effectively and dramatically grow revenue and competitive advantages. The company worked with some of the largest Internet and Mobile Operators to help develop Big Data technology, build technical teams, and develop new monetization strategies, as well as helped major private equity firms on strategic investment decisions relating to Big Data opportunities.

Personal life[edit]

Fayyad is married and has 4 children.


  1. ^ Piatetsky-Shapiro, Gregory (2005, October). "Interview with Usama Fayyad, Yahoo Chief Data Officer". Sig KDD newsletter.