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By Anji Siegel

Harvard Business Review calls data science “the sexiest job in the 21st century,” and by most accounts this hot field promises to revolutionize industries from business to government, health care to academia.

A session from the big data symposium.  Photo by Thomas Veneklasen.

A session from the big data symposium.
Photo by Thomas Veneklasen.

The top-ranked Eller MIS department has been addressing the needs of educating future data scientists for years, but has recently expanded this focus further through two specific offerings.

On October 10th, the department and INSITE: Center for Business Intelligence and Analytics hosted a Big Data Symposium that was open to University students, staff and the local community. Over 230 attendees listened to eight different speakers who shared their thoughts, ideas, and case studies centered around the symposium theme of  “Using Big Data for Predictive Analytics.” Speakers represented a variety of industries including retail, sports, computing tools, research, cybersecurity, technology and services, and healthcare.

The goal of the symposium was to help educate audiences on the various applications of predictive analytics from big data in various industries, and to discuss open challenges and issues that need further work.

In spring 2014, the department will offer MIS students a new class in Big Data Analytics.

The objective of this course is to introduce students to data science techniques that will teach them how to collect, clean, and process data from the web and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and sensors. The course will also focus on network analysis techniques and students will work on a project to collect data from Twitter and Youtube, then construct and visualize different types of networks from the data. They will learn how to do a mathematical analysis of  large scale network structures and evolution using Hadoop and noSQL databases such as Neo4j and Mongodb. In addition, students will delve into Web analytics and learn how to use tools such as Google analytics. Plus they will participate in a Google Online Challenge where they will compete for awards. The course will be taught by McClelland Professor of MIS Sudha Ram.

Top photo of MIS department head Paulo Goes (left) and McClelland Professor of MIS Sudha Ram (third from left) with Darren Stoll and Kerem Tomak of Photo by Thomas Veneklasen.