Data: What is it Good For? (Absolutely Something)
Data, ranging from the ordinary (Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, Instagram photos, and more) to the extraordinary (Higgs boson readings from the LHC project or seismic readings from a tsunami warning system), is destined to become as central to our society as electricity and telecommunications. It’s important that we become “data literate”—we should be able to understand the opportunities presented by collected data as well as risks posed by incorrect usage and interpretation of data. These skills are crucial for successfully negotiating our data-driven future. This seminar will start with the history and context of data collection and statistics, and then progress to our current situation, looking at how existing technologies are being implemented to handle the “data deluge.” We will then examine principles and pitfalls in handling this kind of data, from statistical issues to privacy. Finally, we will discuss visualization and the “visual rhetoric” of data with the seminar culminating in team student projects.