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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Crunching big data: Winona State University launches new undergrad data program

"Data is everywhere — and lots of it." summarizes

Jessica Utts, the president-elect of the American Statistical Association, speaks during the official launch for the new data science program at Winona State University on Monday. The program is believed to be the first of its kind in the region. 
Photo: Winona Daily News

Winona State University has launched a new program to help prepare graduates to get into the business of making sense of it all.

Students, faculty and community members gathered on the WSU campus Monday to celebrate the school’s new data science program — offered through the department of mathematics and statistics — considered to be the first undergraduate degree of its kind in the Upper Midwest.

On the agenda were a series of speakers, featuring Jessica Utts of University of California-Irvine, president-elect of the American Statistical Association, and recent graduates of the statistics program.

The new program, approved officially last fall, was formulated in response to changing demands in the field, Brant Deppa, chair of WSU the Mathematics and Statistics Department and department faculty member Chris Malone explained in an earlier interview.

That’s primarily been driven by the sheer volume and types of data people and organizations can collect and store today, Deppa said — what you buy on Amazon, heart rates over time, bike speeds, steps per day. With the maturation of the internet and new technologies, it’s easier and cheaper to keep track of all of that and more.

Integrating statistics, computer science and communication skills, the new program trains students to wrangle all that data — which can come in huge swaths and in all different forms — and turn it into actionable insights for businesses and other organizations to help solve problems and make things better.

Source: Winona Daily News