Cathy O'Neil

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Cathy O'Neil
Cathy O'Neil at Google Cambridge.jpg
Cathy O'Neil at Google Cambridge in 2016
Alma materUC Berkeley
Harvard University
AwardsAlice T. Schafer Prize in 1993,
MAA's Euler Book Prize
Scientific career
Barnard College
D.E. Shaw
Columbia University
ThesisJacobians of Curves of Genus One
Doctoral advisorBarry Charles Mazur

Catherine ("Cathy") Helen O'Neil is an American mathematician, data scientist, and author. She is the founder of the blog and has written books on data science, including Weapons of Math Destruction. She was the former Director of the Lede Program in Data Practices at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism's Tow Center and was employed as Data Science Consultant[1] at Johnson Research Labs.

She lives in New York City and was active in the Occupy movement.[2]

Education and career[edit]

O'Neil attended UC Berkeley as an undergraduate,[2] received a Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard University in 1999,[3] and afterward held positions in the mathematics departments of MIT and Barnard College, doing research in arithmetic algebraic geometry.[4] She left academia in 2007, and worked for four years in the finance industry, including two years at the hedge fund D. E. Shaw.[5] After becoming disenchanted with the world of finance, O'Neil became involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement,[2] participating in its Alternative Banking Group.[6] In 2016, her book Weapons of Math Destruction was published and long-listed for the National Book Award for Nonfiction.[7][8]

She founded O'Neil Risk Consulting & Algorithmic Auditing, which "helps companies and organizations manage and audit their algorithmic risks."


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.[9]

Personal life[edit]

O'Neil lives in New York City with her husband Aise Johan de Jong and their three sons.[10]


  • 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).