Grooming data science experts

15 March 2016 | Education
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NUS Computing Assistant Professor Phan Tuan Quang (standing) having a lesson with students

Undergraduates can look forward to a new degree programme in Data Science and Analytics in the new academic year this August. The four-year direct Honours programme, offered by the Departments of Mathematics, and Statistics & Applied Probability in NUS Science, in collaboration with NUS Computing, will have an initial intake of about 60 students.  

The Data Science and Analytics programme is the first of its kind to be offered by a university in Singapore and will produce much needed data science experts to contribute to the Smart Nation initiative. “You name any business sector, the role of data science is there,” said Professor Tan Eng Chye, NUS Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost, adding that it is an emerging area that has changed the way we do business.

The new technical-focused course is designed to groom graduates to acquire, manage and explore data to meet the needs of data collection, processing and analyses across various sectors. Students will be equipped with skills such as extracting important information from medical images and predicting consumer behaviour, for example, to prepare them for careers in a range of industries, from technology and transportation to telecommunications and e-commerce.  

Students will read modules in Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, and be exposed to the interplay between these three key areas in the practice of data science. In their third and fourth years of study, they will explore more in-depth subject matters such as computation and optimisation; computer algorithms; database and data processing; data mining and machine learning; and high-dimensional statistics. There will also be a capstone module where students will work with real-life data and tackle actual issues facing the industry.

The programme, which will also be open to students across faculties as a minor or second major, complements the current Bachelor of Science in Business Analytics and Bachelor of Computing in Information Security offered by NUS Computing, launched in 2013 and 2015 respectively. The former teaches students to organise and gather critical insights from large amounts of business data, while the latter provides a solid computing foundation coupled with a deep understanding of technical and management issues in information security.

The fields of computing and data science have seen greater interest recently, with the attraction of better job prospects and tech giants such as Google making its way to Singapore.

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