Illinois Institute of Technology Launches Master of Data Science Program

Responding to a growing need for people who can turn big data into intelligent insights, Illinois Institute of Technology has launched a new Master of Data Science (MAS DS) program for Fall 2013. The rigorous and interdisciplinary program combines high-level mathematics and computer science theory with the practical knowledge to explore data sets, gather insights, and visualize and communicate meaningful findings.

Unlike many data analytics and business intelligence degree programs, the IIT MAS DS program focuses on acquiring deep knowledge and understanding of the theory behind machine learning and data mining; object-oriented programming skills; understanding of scientific problems and processes; and skill in facilitating effective communication with scientific and business collaborators. Students will have the opportunity to work on real data science projects through a practicum at the end of the program.

“Educating data scientists is a multifaceted task,” said Shlomo Argamon, professor of computer science and co-director of the program. “We will teach our students the theory and practice of statistics, data mining, and scalable computing in depth; train them in communications and design skills; and provide them with practical experience integrating their knowledge, guided by academic and industrial mentors.”

Argamon added, “Of particular importance is the fact that we weave discussion of ethical principles and their application throughout the curriculum, to ensure that our graduates will be prepared to act with the highest standards of professionalism.”

The launch of IIT’s data science program comes at a time when data are being acquired faster than ever before and are being used to make decisions on business, healthcare, science, and government policy. The average company with over 1,000 employees has hundreds of terabytes of stored data and many companies are even producing tens of terabytes per day. As the amount of data in the world continues to grow, so does the demand for data scientists who can make sense of these large data sets. Between 2011 and 2012, there was a 15,000 percent increase in job postings for data scientists, according to Harvard Business Review.

IIT is located in Chicago, a key hub for data science research and industry, with a large concentration of companies working in or using data science in the area. The City of Chicago government is a pioneer in making municipal data available for analysis and app development. An atmosphere so heavily invested in data science is ideal for a student who is looking to gain experience in the field during the program or for a graduate seeking employment, noted Argamon.

Applications for IIT’s Master of Data Science are now open for Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 classes.