Hilary Mason (data scientist)

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Hilary Mason is an American data scientist and the founder of technology startup Fast Forward Labs[1][2] as well as Data Scientist in Residence at Accel Partners.[3] She was the Chief Scientist at bitly.[4] On September 7, 2017, Cloudera announced that it had acquired Fast Forward Labs, and that Mason would become Cloudera's Vice President of Research.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Mason was born in New York City, and graduated from Grinnell College with a B.A. in computer science in 2000, and attended Brown University.[4][6][7]


Mason was the chief data scientist at bitly for four years. She is the founder and CEO of Fast Forward Labs [8] and is a consultant data scientist at Accel, evaluating and advising on data strategies regarding technologies and investment opportunities.[9][10] In 2010, she co-founded HackNY, a non-profit that helps integrate talented engineering students into the startup community in New York City. Mason further co-hosts DataGotham, a data driven event that celebrates the people and stories of the New York data community.[11] She has also been a member of Mayor Bloomsberg's Technology and Innovation Advisory Council. [12] In addition, Mason is a prominent member of NYCResistor, a hacker collective located in Brooklyn. [13]

She has been interviewed by TechRepublic,[14]Forbes,[15] Wall Street Journal, ProgrammableWeb[16] and others.[17][18][19] She has further featured in both Glamour (magazine) [20] and American Scientist [21][22]

Fast Forward Labs[edit]

Fast Forward Labs, founded by Mason, specializes in machine learning intelligence research. The company assists organizations in engaging with data science and machine learning. It aims to update clients on the latest trends in applied artificial intelligence and how to best apply the most recent technologies to business opportunities. FFL helps navigate the vendor ecosystem whilst also analyzing capability gaps from a process, social, technical and organizational perspective.[23]

The product they offer to clients includes applied machine learning and AI research reports, which provide information on emerging technologies and how impactful they will be in the near future . They offer quarterly reports with functional prototypes as well as weekly newsletters and event invitations. In addition, the service offers remote consulting (four hours per month) to field any follow up questions. In general their product aims to address strategy, specific products and any technological issues that may arise, effectively guiding from theory to practice. [24]

Fast Forward Labs’ most recent report discusses refractors, which predict churn probabilities for telecom customers, probabilistic programming language, which makes Bayesian inference accessible by quantifying uncertainty through the use of data and domain knowledge and loan office simulators which uses metrics to generate probabilistic models of loan repayments to assist in decision making regarding loan approvals. They also offered advice on probabilistic real estate, which predicts house pricing across all the New York City boroughs and how deep learning can help computers learn identification of new objects in images.[25]

On September 7, 2017 it was announced that Fast Forward Labs was being acquired by Cloudera, a US open-source software company that offers support, training and software to business clients.[26] Cloudera extended this offer due to FFL’s experience and expertise in applying machine learning to practical business problems and their commitment to continual academic and industrial research surveys on new techniques.[27] Mason explained that the merger of FFL with Cloudera would enable further and accelerated research opportunities on a larger platform.[28]


Mason received the TechFellows Engineering Leadership award in 2012 worth $100,000.[29] She was also on the Fortune 40 under 40 Ones to Watch list in 2011,[30] as well as Crain’s New York 40 under Forty list. [31]

She was named within the Top 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company.[32]


  1. ^ "Ex-Bitly chief scientist Hilary Mason launches Fast Forward Labs as an all-in-one emerging tech consultant - VentureBeat - Big Data - by Jordan Novet". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  2. ^ Vanian, Jonathan (2014-07-21). "Former Bit.ly data scientist Hilary Mason starts own research consulting lab". Retrieved 2016-01-01. 
  3. ^ "Hilary Mason Will Make Sense Of Your Company's Massive Data Sets". Fast Company. 6 November 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "Hilary Mason - 2012 - 40 Under Forty - Crain's New York Business". Crain's New York blog. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  5. ^ "Fast Forward!". Cloudera VISION Blog. 2017-09-07. Retrieved 2017-09-09. 
  6. ^ "Accel". accel.com. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  7. ^ "Hilary Mason '00 featured in "Why a Liberal Education Creates Great Entrepreneurs"". Grinnell College. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  8. ^ "Hilary Mason About". Hilary Mason. Retrieved 14 November 2017. 
  9. ^ "Accel: Hilary Mason". Accel. Retrieved 14 November 2017. 
  10. ^ "Hilary Mason About". Hilary Mason. Retrieved 14 November 2017. 
  11. ^ "Hilary Mason About". Hilary Mason. Retrieved 14 November 2017. 
  12. ^ "Mayor Bloomberg Announces New Advisory Council on Technology at NY Tech Meetup". Xconomy. Retrieved 14 November 2017. 
  13. ^ "NYCResistor About". NYCResistor. Retrieved 14 November 2017. 
  14. ^ "Hilary Mason: Fast Forward Labs CEO. One-time aspiring taxi driver. Your nerd best friend". TechRepublic. Retrieved 2016-01-16. 
  15. ^ "bitly's Hilary Mason on". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-01-01. 
  16. ^ "Interview Hilary Mason Chief Scientist bitly". ProgrammableWeb. Retrieved 2016-01-01. 
  17. ^ "Hilary Mason Turns Big Data Into Plain English | Rising Stars | OZY". OZY. ozy. Retrieved 2016-01-01. 
  18. ^ UTC, Lauren Drell2013-05-14 16:48:43. "Data Science and Why Dogs Rule the Internet". Mashable. Retrieved 2016-01-01. 
  19. ^ "Data Stories: Interview with Hilary Mason of Bit.ly". Gnip Blog - Social Data and Data Science Blog. Retrieved 2016-01-01. 
  20. ^ "Women in Tech: We Really Do Need More!". Glamour. Retrieved 4 November 2017. 
  21. ^ "Physics or Fashion? What Science Lovers Link to Most". American Scientist. Retrieved 4 November 2017. 
  22. ^ "Getting to Know You: Bit.ly Chief Scientist Finds Rich Data in Shortened Links". American Scientist. Retrieved 4 November 2017. 
  23. ^ "Fast Forward Labs: What we do". Fast Forward Labs. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  24. ^ "Fast Forward Labs: Product". Fast Forward Labs. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  25. ^ "Fast Forward Labs: Research". Fast Forward Labs. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  26. ^ "Cloudera: About". Cloudera. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  27. ^ "Cloudera Vision Blog: Fast Forward". Cloudera. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  28. ^ "Fast Forward Blog: To the Future..." Fast Forward Labs. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  29. ^ Constine, Josh. "The Winners Of This Year's $100,000 TechFellow Awards Are…". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2016-01-01. 
  30. ^ "40 Under 40: Ones to watch - Hilary Mason (13) - CNNMoney". archive.fortune.com. Retrieved 2016-01-01. 
  31. ^ "40 Under 40 Class of 2012". Crain's New York Business. Retrieved 4 November 2017. 
  32. ^ "99-100. Hilary Mason, Leslie Bradshaw". Fast Company. Retrieved 2016-01-01. 

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