COS Independent Work Seminar:
A Brave New Data World

Fall 2015

General Information:

Instructor: Thomas Funkhouser (office hours Thurs 2-4PM, Fri 1:30-2:30PM)
Meeting time and place: Fridays 3:00-4:20PM, Room 301
Links: Description, Schedule, Resources, FAQ, Piazza


This seminar is an opportunity for students to develop individual or small-team software projects in the still new and emerging area of Data Science, which combines concepts, methods, and tools typically taught in Probability and Statistics, Data Mining, and Programming Languages courses, among others. The projects will use the Python stack for data crunching and analysis, including iPython, pandas, matplotlib, SciPy, NumPy, and scikit-learn.

Each team is expected to develop a relatively complete data processing and analysis pipeline, including components for data acquisition, extraction, cleaning, normalization, transformation, aggregation, statistical analysis, classification, and interactive visualization. Students may choose their own data sets and project objectives, in consultation with the instructor. Objectives may include contributions to the open source software libraries used in the seminar.

The end goal of each project is to draw relevant conclusions based on sound methods and real-world data -- which sometimes can be noisy, inconsistent, and insufficient -- processed and analyzed using the Python stack. Conclusions may consist of explanatory theories, predictions, or proposed courses of action regarding the phenomenon that generated the data. Alternative end goals may include demonstrations of the limitations, or unintended consequences (e.g., privacy concerns) of the availability of increasingly large and inter-related data sets in recent years.


Schedule (Tentative):

Date Topic Notes
Sept 18 Introduction
Sept 18 Information meeting for all IW students Large Auditorium (COS 104), 12:30-2:00PM
Sept 25 Develop project plans
Oct 2 Develop project plans
Oct 9 Proposal talks I Written proposals and proposal talks due
Oct 16 Proposal talks II
Oct 23 Discussion and feedback
Oct 30 Discussion and feedback
Nov 6 Fall break
Nov 13 Discussion and feedback Checkpoint form due
Nov 20 Discussion and feedback
Nov 27 Thanksgiving
Dec 4 Discussion and feedback
Dec 11 Report talks I Report talk slides due
Dec 18 Report talks II
Jan 5 Written final report due
Jan 11 Poster session for all IW students Convocation Room (Friend Center), 10AM-1PM




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