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Faculty of Science plans minor in data sciences

By Jason Herring, January 10 2017 —

The University of Calgary will offer a new science course called “Thinking with Data”  beginning in the Summer 2017 semester. The course is expected to be part of a new minor in data sciences that students will be able to take starting in Fall 2018, pending university approval.

“Thinking with Data” will be a 200-level course offered by the Faculty of Science in Summer 2017, Fall 2017 and Winter 2018. Computer science department head Frank Maurer says the course, which has no prerequisites, is meant to introduce students to the world of data.

“The course is about teaching students some usable skills on how to manage data and make sense of it,” Maurer said. “It’s about the process of taking data that is messy and cleaning it up, putting it into more useful formats, then creating visualizations that help you understand the data.”

The departments of computer science, math and statistics collaborated to develop the proposed new minor. Maurer says that while the minor is being developed by these departments, it is intended for all disciplines.

“The minor is really targeting students who have to survive in the world of big data,” Maurer said. “It’s about helping students acquire the skills to make sense of the massive amounts of data that we are seeing to develop in all types of domain. It’s applicable towards health, it’s applicable towards engineering, it’s applicable towards humanities.”

Maurer says he hopes the U of C Board of Governors will approve the minor before the end of the 2016–17 academic year.

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