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Salt Lake City – The University of Utah’s College of Engineering received approval last week for its new graduate certificate program in big data.
This emerging field – which addresses large sets of data too complex, diverse or rapidly changing for one computer to handle – affects everything from studying traffic patterns to managing sensitive information online. Big data is also big business – for example, using big data to improve efficiency and quality in the health care sector is estimated to be worth more than $300 billion each year.
“We’re seeing a revolution in the availability of data,” said Jeff Phillips, assistant professor of computer science and coordinator of the new program. “It’s easy to collect information, but processing and analyzing large stores of data is becoming increasingly difficult. We are at the point where the traditional analytical tools for attacking this problem are breaking down.”
Drawing on existing courses in computer science, the university’s new certificate program will provide graduate students and professional computer scientists with the skills needed to process, analyze and manage sets of large, complex data. The certificate consists of five courses in data-mining, machine learning, database systems, visualization and advanced algorithms. These courses already are taught at the U, and will include options for distance education such as online video, internet-video office hours and classes late in the day.
The University of Utah Academic Senate approved the new big data certificate program Feb. 3. The certificate will be coordinated through the university’s School of Computing and will officially begin in fall semester 2014.