DEEP: Data-Enabled Engineering Projects (DEEPs) for Data Science and Engineering Education

The importance of data science and engineering (DSE) training and education cannot be overstated. A 2018 National Academies report states that “Work across nearly all domains is becoming more data driven, affecting both the jobs that are available and the skills that are required. As more data and ways of analyzing them become available, more aspects of the economy, society, and daily life will become dependent on data.” A recent study by IBM found more than 2.3 million data science and analytics job listings in 2015, and predicted that demand for data scientists will soar 28% by 2020. Undergraduate and graduate education offers a critical link in providing more DSE exposure to students and expanding the supply of DSE talent.

The overarching goal of this NSF funded project is to provide an effective solution to help prepare a broad spectrum of undergraduate and graduate students with data science and engineering (DSE) skills that are in high demand in the current and future job markets. Specifically, we aim to create data-enabled engineering project (DEEP) modules based on real data and applications, especially the research projects in our group with lab setups, and industrial projects through our collaborations with industrial partners. These modules should be easily deployable in various STEM courses to offer students research experiences of the complete lifecycle of DSE practices.

The best way to learn something is to teach it. As shown in the following figure, graduate students in their first or second year who will be working on this project will have ample opportunity to learn and master the fundamental DSE skills using real data, including data preprocessing, visualization, dimension reduction, feature extraction, clustering, classification, regression, statistical inference, machine learning and deep learning through artificial neural networks (ANNs), etc. These experiences will help them build strong foundations to take on more challenging research projects in the DSE field and often working closely with our industrial partners.

This NSF funded Data-Enabled Engineering Project (DEEP) will offer new graduate students ample opportunity to learn and master DSE skills.