New Introductory Course on the Challenges and Opportunities of Big Data

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The growing availability of large amounts of dataobtained either through research or electronic capture of everyday activityhas been termed “Big Data." Have you wondered what Big Data is and whether it is hype or reality? 

A new, introductory course from the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics will discuss the opportunities and challenges of using biological and health-related Big Data to perform biomedical research and introduce students to the techniques used in the emerging field of data science.  The course uses a leading software package to explore the phases of data science: obtaining, cleaning, visualizing, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data. No previous programming experience is required.

At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Access public use (and non-public) sources of data such as NHANES, and social media data
  • Use software to manipulate and clean Big Data
  • Generate effective graphical displays of data
  • Describe the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to both supervised (classification and regression) and unsupervised predictive modeling (clustering and data reduction)

  • Describe the issues that arise when trying to use Big Data observational studies to derive causal conclusions; and

  • Describe the features of pragmatic clinical trials and how they are different from more usual clinical trials.

 “Opportunities and Challenges of Complex Biomedical Data: Introduction to the Science of ‘Big Data,’” BIOSTAT 202, will meet for lectures on Mondays and Thursdays from 1:00 to 2:30 pm with a hands-on computer lab on Thursdays from 2:45 to 4:15 pm. The class meets in Mission Hall on the UCSF Mission Bay campus beginning Thursday July 28, 2016 and runs until Thursday, September 1, 2016.

A laptop is required for running the course software in lab.

Detailed syllabus, tuition costs, and application materials can be found here.