Slideshow 7 Universities Modernizing BI and Analytics Degrees

  • March 13 2013, 12:26pm EDT

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer undergrads, graduate students and faculty are working on the first university-edition of IBM’s Watson hardware and analytics software, the backbone of which received international attention a few years ago as the winner on TV trivia show, “Jeopardy!” University President Shirley Ann Jackson said in a statement that she expects “Watson will give our students an advantage as they compete for the best jobs in Big Data, analytics, and cognitive computing.” Watson’s analytic capabilities were also the basis of another IBM student competition at University of Southern California.

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University of California-Davis

Good data sets become great when there are visual elements that bring it to a wider audience. A specialty program at this northern California state school brings a half-dozen faculty members together with graduate researchers to bring to life “interdisciplinary problems in visualization, geometric modeling, computer graphics, computational geometry, graphics architecture, and immersive technologies.”

University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana

Along with some notable alumni – Ray Ozzie of Microsoft and Tom Siebel among them – the computer science program at the northern Illinois state university has some big (data) plans for future students. Make that huge data plans. Student researchers will learn the ins-and-outs of huge, varied data sets in part from trial runs on a supercomputer on campus via the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

Indiana University

No stranger to huge supercomputers, the new Big Red II (pictured here) holds promises of one petaflop of processing. More germane to students and the businesses who will one day hire them, the Bloomington-based computer science department will delve into data from research in the realms of life sciences, astronomy, network science and informatics. IU also now offers an MBA in analytics.

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University of California-Berkeley

Enterprise data isn’t neat and tidy. Getting a dose of that dirty data during degree training is an emphasis of data scientist and Berkeley Ph.D. grad Cathy O’Neill, who noted at Strata Hadoop World: “academia is not currently aligned with the needs of data science, where the biggest challenges are determining the right questions and working with messy data … academia must work through its interdisciplinary politics and aggressively recruit industry experts to its faculties to become truly relevant for data science.” At Berkeley now is a developing AMPLab, where people are at the front of machine-learning advances.

George Mason University

Faculty at this Virginia university regularly speak on the practicalities of forming modern analytics teams at the business level – with a bit of experience from NASA and elsewhere – and programs stress the fundamentals of computer science with demands from potential employers.

Michigan State University

Through its Broad College of Business, students can attain an M.S. in business analytics, with coursework that ranges from marketing application of analytics and project management, to statistical analysis and ethics.