STEM

Data science adding up for BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University is ahead of the curve when it comes to data science. A week ago, the Board of Trustees approved a PhD and a master’s program in the rapidly expanding field. These degrees will make BGSU the only college in the country to offer a full range of programs from a bachelor of science through a PhD. Only one other university, IUPUI, has a similar pathway, and its undergraduate program is a minor. Michael Ogawa, BGSU vice president for Research and Economic Engagement, said the data analytics program addresses an expanding need. “Data is truly exploding now, and it will continue to do so,” he told trustees at the board’s educational session. “Because of this explosion of data and the utility of data and knowledge that the analysis of that can bring, there’s a tremendous need for data scientists.” In 2015 there were 3.35 million jobs advertised, he said. And that’s expected to grow by 15 percent in the next five years. Those positions are difficult to fill, and stay open longer than average. Starting pay for someone with a master’s degree, Ogawa said, is $80,000 a year. Jong Kwan “Jake” Lee, professor of computer science, said BGSU “is leading the way” in the field. Companies, he said, started collecting data about 15 years ago to see if the data would be “useful.” What they found out is the data itself “is not useful at all unless they get useful information out of it.” Now they need people who can ferret out what’s meaningful. That requires having the computer, statistical, and analytics skills to crunch that data and the ability “to present data in way others can understand,” Lee said. BGSU launched its effort with a gathering in 2010. By 2012 it had its data analytics program. That program now has 72 students, including 23 from Tianjin Polytechnic University in China, said Associate Dean Arthur Yeh. He expects about a dozen…

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