Danese Cooper Starts at REvolution as 'Open Source Diva'

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-03-24

Danese Cooper, known as the "Open-Source Diva" after stints as an open-source community builder at Sun Microsystems and Intel, announced March 23 that she had joined REvolution Computing, a provider of open-source predictive analytics solutions.

At REvolution, Open Source Diva Cooper (she will retain her title) will "head up REvolution's outreach to communities of developers not yet familiar with [the company's implementation of] the R language and its potential to solve problems and better inform decisions through predictive analytics," REvolution said in a news release.

R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It compiles and runs on a wide variety of Unix platforms, Windows and MacOS. R is a GNU project that is similar to the S language and environment which was developed at Bell Laboratories. R can be viewed as a different implementation of S. There are some important differences, but much code written for S runs unaltered under R.

One of Cooper's first initiatives at REvolution will be to work with REvolution R Director of Community David Smith to "develop a program to better support user groups and to develop new community assets. She will also be expanding REvolution's program of speaking engagements," the company said in the release.

In a blog post describing her move to REvolution, Cooper said:

Today we were finally able to announce my change in employment. For the past month I've been working for a new company called REvolution Computing! REvolution produces a very performant version of the language R, which is gaining a lot of attention with some of the alpha geeks I know and love. They also produce packages using R that do some amazing things. I'll be helping them to get the word out and helping them expand the community of folks using R. I'm especially looking to highlight novel uses of Predictive Analytics.

In the REvolution statement, Cooper was quoted as saying, "In a classic pattern of open-source adoption and growth, R is being used to expand predictive choices at places like Google, Facebook, Novell, and throughout the life sciences and financial services industries. My role is to build bridges between REvolution Computing and the expanding community of R so that everyone can benefit from a robust exchange of ideas and experimentation."

REvolution Computing CEO Richard Schultz said, "We are really excited to have Danese join our team. She brings a wealth of experience from Sun and Intel, as well as deep knowledge about open-source community dynamics ... and she likes to drive really fast, which is sort of a prerequisite around here."

According to the company statement:

Ms. Cooper was most recently senior director [of] open source strategies at Intel. She serves as an officer on the board of the Open Source Initiative, a non-profit that maintains the Open Source Definition and also approves open source software licenses. She is also a member of the Apache Software Foundation and serves on a special advisory board for Mozilla.org. Prior to joining Intel, Ms. Cooper was chief open source evangelist at Sun Microsystems where she created and managed the Open Source Programs Office, providing public visibility and oversight on all of Sun's engagements with the Open Source community. Previously, she held various management positions at companies including Apple, Symantec and Microsoft.

REvolution announced its hiring of Cooper on Ada Lovelace Day. Lovelace, who is considered to have been one of the first computer programmers, inspired Cooper to put forward former Perl Foundation President Allison Randal as a personal "Ada-day heroine" in a blog post on the subject.

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