From the University of Utah: Feb. 7, 2014 – The University of Utah's College of Engineering received approval this week for its new graduate certificate program in big data.

This emerging field – which addresses large sets of data too complex, diverse or rapidly changing for one computer to handle – affects everything from studying traffic patterns to managing sensitive information online. Big data is also big business – for example, using big data to improve efficiency and quality in the health care sector is estimated to be worth more than $300 billion each year.

"We're seeing a revolution in the availability of data. It's easy to collect information, but processing and analyzing large stores of data is becoming increasingly difficult. We are at the point where the traditional analytical tools for attacking this problem are breaking down," says Jeff Phillips, assistant professor of computer science and coordinator of the new program.

"Our program capitalizes on University of Utah's strengths in computer science and big-data processing, and will provide students with the technical training needed to succeed in high-tech jobs in data analysis and management."

Drawing on existing courses in computer science, the university's new certificate program will provide graduate students and professional computer scientists with the skills needed to process, analyze and manage sets of large, complex data. The certificate consists of five courses (15 credit hours) in data mining, machine learning, database systems, visualization and advanced algorithms. These courses already are taught at the U, and will include options for distance education such as online video, internet-video office hours and classes late in the day.

Although use of big data is a national trend, the skills needed to manage big data are especially critical in Utah, where companies such as Adobe and Goldman Sachs, as well as the National Security Agency, store vast reserves of data. The program also will include training on ethical issues associated with data management and analysis.

The University of Utah Academic Senate approved the new big data certificate program Feb. 3. The certificate will be coordinated through the university's School of Computing and will officially begin in fall semester 2014.

To learn more about the data center engineering program, click here.