Cathy O'Neil

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Cathy O'Neil
Cathy O'Neil at Google Cambridge in 2016
EducationUniversity of California, Berkeley
Harvard University (PhD)
AwardsAlice T. Schafer Prize in 1993,
MAA's Euler Book Prize
Scientific career
Barnard College
D. E. Shaw & Co.
Columbia University
ThesisJacobians of Curves of Genus One
Doctoral advisorBarry Mazur

Catherine ("Cathy") Helen O'Neil is an American mathematician, data scientist, and author. She is the author of the New York Times best-seller Weapons of Math Destruction, and opinion columns in Bloomberg View. O'Neil was active in the Occupy movement.[1]

Education and career[edit]

O'Neil attended UC Berkeley as an undergraduate,[1] received a Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard University in 1999,[2][3] and afterward held positions in the mathematics departments of MIT and Barnard College,[4]. She left academia in 2007, and worked for four years in the finance industry.[5] After becoming disenchanted with the world of finance, O'Neil became involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement,[6][1] participating in its Alternative Banking Group.[7]

O'Neil operates the blog and is a contributor to Bloomberg View.[8][9][10]

Her first book, Doing Data Science, was written with Rachel Schutt and published in 2013.[9] In 2016, her second book, Weapons of Math Destruction was published, long-listed for the National Book Award for Nonfiction[11][12] and became a New York Times best-seller.[4] A third book, The Shame Machine: Who Profits in the New Age of Humiliation, was published March 2022.

She is the founder of O'Neil Risk Consulting & Algorithmic Auditing (ORCAA), an algorithmic auditing company.[3][13]


In 1993 O'Neil was awarded the Alice T. Schafer Prize from the Association for Women in Mathematics and in 2019 she won the MAA's Euler Book Prize for her book Weapons of Math Destruction.[14]

Personal life[edit]

O'Neil lives in Massachusetts and has three sons.[15][16]


  • With Rachel Schutt, Doing Data Science: Straight Talk from the Frontline (O'Reilly 2013, ISBN 1449358659).
  • On Being a Data Skeptic (O'Reilly Media 2013, ISBN 1491947233).
  • Weapons of Math Destruction (Crown 2016, ISBN 0553418815).
  • The Shame Machine: Who Profits in the New Age of Humiliation (Crown 2022, ISBN 1984825453).


  1. ^ a b c "PBS Interview". PBS. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  2. ^ Catherine Helen O'Neil, Mathematics Genealogy.
  3. ^ a b Zhang, Christine (30 December 2016). "Q&A: Cathy O'Neil, author of 'Weapons of Math Destruction,' on the dark side of big data". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  4. ^ a b "#49 Cathy O'Neil - POLITICO 50 2017". POLITICO.
  5. ^ "Library of Economics and Liberty interview". Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  6. ^ Rawlins, Aimee (6 September 2016). "Math is racist: How data is driving inequality". CNNMoney. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  7. ^ Josh Harkinson (Dec 13, 2011), Meet the Financial Wizards Working With Occupy Wall Street, Mother Jones magazine
  8. ^ Washington Post Live. "The Future of Work with Humu CEO Laszlo Bock & ORCAA Founder Cathy O'Neil". Washington Post. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  9. ^ a b Chalabi, Mona (27 October 2016). "Weapons of Math Destruction: Cathy O'Neil adds up the damage of algorithms". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  10. ^ Pazzanese, Christina (13 October 2016). "Don't trust that algorithm". Harvard Gazette.
  11. ^ 2016 National Book Award Longlist, Nonfiction, National Book Foundation
  12. ^ "The National Book Awards Longlist: Nonfiction", The New Yorker, September 14, 2016
  13. ^ Hempel, Jessi. "Want to Prove Your Business Is Fair? Audit Your Algorithm". Wired. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  14. ^ Gallian, Joseph A. (2019-06-01). "The First Twenty-Five Winners of the AWM Alice T. Schafer Prize". Notices of the American Mathematical Society. 66 (6): 1. doi:10.1090/noti1892. ISSN 0002-9920.
  15. ^ " about page". 11 June 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2021.
  16. ^ "Kennedy School bio". Retrieved 23 July 2023.

External links[edit]