|Weekly News Digest
December 5, 2013 — In addition to this week's NewsBreak(s), the editors have compiled the Weekly News Digest, featuring stories from the week just past that you should know about. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today.
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University Creates Big Data Graduate Program
WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) in Massachusetts has a new graduate degree program in data science that is designed to produce professionals who can manage Big Data. This interdisciplinary program officially begins with the fall 2014 semester, but students may now enroll in existing courses for the program.
WPI saw a growing demand for professionals who can analyze massive data sets and distill their value to help organizations. According to a report from McKinsey Co., there is currently a shortage of 140,000–190,000 people with analytical expertise in the U.S. workforce, and there will be a need for 1.5 million more Big Data managers and analysts.
“The data bonanza and the growing use of data analytics in business, education, and government has created a need for a new breed of professionals, called data scientists, who have expertise in such specialized areas as machine learning, statistical modelling, data warehousing, predictive modeling, and large-scale database architecture and management,” says Elke Rundensteiner, professor of computer science and director of the new program.
There are only a few similar programs in the country. WPI’s program is offered by faculty members in the computer science and mathematical sciences departments as well as the business school. Students graduating from the program earn an M.S. (by completing 33 credits and a capstone project or thesis) or a graduate certificate (by completing 18 credits).
Subjects covered in the program include data mining, Big Data algorithms, and data visualization. Students work with a sponsoring organization, faculty member, or industrial partner to apply classroom teachings to real-world issues.
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