Big Data Becomes Big Man on Campus at UC Berkeley

Douglas Belkin:

At the University of California, Berkeley, the fastest-growing class on campus is introduction to data science.

A month-old major in the field that merges aspects of computer science and statistics to mine the growing troves of data on everything from traffic patterns to the habits of social-media users has attracted interest from 1,000 students.

UC Berkeley on Thursday announced plans to create a new division focused on the discipline, which school officials called the biggest reorganization in several decades. The aim is to make every student proficient not only in reading, writing and arithmetic—but data.

“Data science is blowing up,” said Anna Nguyen, a third-year public-health student. “It just feels like a revolution is happening and everyone wants to be a part of it.”