Over the next decade, the cumulative amount of data collected since the beginning of human history will increase more than fiftyfold. We will need citizens who can understand how to sift through all that information and use it to improve our world. Data Driven is an applied mathematics course where students will learn how to collect, manipulate, analyze and visualize data, all backed by sound mathematical principles. Students will learn data science skills in the context of trying to answer interesting questions with data, with topics of exploration drawn from current political issues, economic trends, pop culture and student interest. Mathematically, students will engage with data via statistics and mathematical modeling, learning how data can both describe a certain situation and also wield predictive power. Both in statistics and modeling, the class will rely on equally abstract and numerical methods. After learning these mathematical skills, students will practice using data-based conclusions to make persuasive, human arguments through infographics, data journalism and class debates.
Students will also explore how we deal with issues surrounding data in our society. The class will explore the mathematics undergirding cryptography that helps us ensure our data stays private. Along the way, we will consider the growing tension between freely available data and individual privacy as data becomes easier and easier to collect, and is often collected without our knowledge.