Envisioning the Data Science Discipline | The Undergraduate Perspective : Interim Report

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018

Publié le 12 mars 2018, par Thérèse Hameau


The need to manage, analyze, and extract knowledge from data is pervasive across industry, government, and academia. Scientists, engineers, and executives routinely encounter enormous volumes of data, and new techniques and tools are emerging to create knowledge out of these data, some of them capable of working with real-time streams of data. The nation’s ability to make use of these data depends on the availability of an educated workforce with necessary expertise. With these new capabilities have come novel ethical challenges regarding the effectiveness and appropriateness of broad applications of data analyses.

The field of data science has emerged to address the proliferation of data and the need to manage and understand it. Data science is a hybrid of multiple disciplines and skill sets, draws on diverse fields (including computer science, statistics, and mathematics), encompasses topics in ethics and privacy, and depends on specifics of the domains to which it is applied. Fueled by the explosion of data, jobs that involve data science have proliferated and an array of data science programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels have been established. Nevertheless, data science is still in its infancy, which suggests the importance of envisioning what the field might look like in the future and what key steps can be taken now to move data science education in that direction.

This study will set forth a vision for the emerging discipline of data science at the undergraduate level. This interim report lays out some of the information and comments that the committee has gathered and heard during the first half of its study, offers perspectives on the current state of data science education, and poses some questions that may shape the way data science education evolves in the future. The study will conclude in early 2018 with a final report that lays out a vision for future data science education.