Data-X: An Experimental Course Model that is Working

I’d like to start by congratulating all the teams that participated in our first Data-X course this spring. We just watched the final presentations, and it has been a great experience. Three months ago, we were just introducing the basic frameworks. And now, by the end of the semester, the projects have included running code and insightful approaches to topics such as:

  • Detection of fake news
  • Prediction of long-term energy prices to solve a Wall Street problem
  • Prediction applications for the stock market and sports betting
  • AI for Crime detection, traffic guidance, and medical diagnostics
  • A version of Zillow that is recalculated with the effects of AirBnB income
  • and many more…
Students presenting at Data-X finals
Students presenting at Data-X finals

 

These are technically difficult projects, not to mention creative and inspiring. Everyone has come up a very large learning curve.

I want to thank Kevin Bozhe Li and Alexander Fred Ojala for being part of the teaching team. And our guests, such as Rob von Behren from Google who spoke on TensorFlow and entrepreneurs like Antonio Vitti who brought real life problems and context to the course.

Today, the world is literally reinventing itself with Data and AI. However, neither leading companies nor the world’s top students have the complete knowledge set or access to the full networks they need to participate in this newly developing world. Data-X is a UC Berkeley course and a global project designed to fix this problem.

This course has been great, because we now have a way to develop a broad set of data-related capabilities from technical depth to math fundamentals to industry perspective and networks of experts.

I’m looking forward to scaling it next semester to a larger size. What will be new for Fall 2017?

  • More real life applications, and more modeling
  • Full data stack — we need to go farther beyond machine learning algorithms
  • A Spark module, and new python library options
  • More industry expert participation

As a final note — thank you to all the students who helped develop the course over the past nine months: Nathan Cheng, Sam Choi, Sindhuja Jeybal, Kunal Desai, and Nikhil Mane.

I’m already looking forward to Fall 2017.

Background links:

https://data-x.blog/

http://scet.berkeley.edu/data-x-course/

http://scet.berkeley.edu/data-strategy-working-hard-enough/

 

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