ust before 9 am last Thursday, an unusual speed dating scene sprang up in San Francisco. A casually dressed crowd, mostly male, milled around a gilt-edged Beaux Arts ballroom on Nob Hill. Pairs and trios formed quickly, but not in search of romance.

Ice breakers were direct: What’s your favorite programming language? Which data analysis framework are you most expert in? More delicately, conversations drifted toward rankings on Kaggle.com, a site that has turned data science into a kind of sport. READ MORE ON: WIRED

 Joan Cros/Getty Images
Joan Cros/Getty Images