Hamilton Announces Data Science Concentration – News


Through the Data Science program, students will engage with statistical methods, algorithms, data structures, and machine learning while gaining a critical understanding of the data life cycle and analytics. Courses in statistics, computer science and applied fields such as government, environmental science and sociology will introduce the societal impact of data science and ethical concerns such as the right to privacy and the data validity.

“I think it’s a huge boost for [students’] post-graduate plans, especially if they plan to go and work in a data-driven field,” said Chinthaka Kuruwita, associate professor of statistics and director of the data science program. “Employers don’t just want pack animals; they need people who can think with data. Our Data Science degree develops the right amount of technical expertise along with other skills essential to our modern world.

The new concentration responds to the growing demand in academia, government and business for employees with the quantitative, statistical and technological expertise to collect and analyze large data sets. Already, several Hamilton students have worked with professors over the past few years to create bespoke data science concentrations.

“Employers don’t just want pack animals; they need people who can think with data. Our Data Science degree develops the right amount of technical expertise along with other skills essential to our modern world.

“I remember when I first taught the higher statistics seminar in 2012, we only had five students. Now our statistics seminars are running at full capacity, sometimes with excessive registrations. So it’s clear that students are drawn to the field,” Kuruwita said.

To support the growing program, the College plans to hire a faculty member specializing in machine learning in 2023.

According to Kuruwita, the new major is designed not only for students who intend to become data scientists, but also for those who are intrigued by the power of data science as a tool that can drive to advances in their primary area of ​​interest, be it physics, chemistry, public health, climate science, sociology, economics, or many others, including the humanities.

“As a data scientist, your job is to not lose sight of the main question you are trying to answer. This is precisely why we wanted to have the ‘applied domain’ element in the program so that [students] can build more intuition specific to these areas,” he said. “So when it’s showtime – when they’re actually analyzing the data for that domain – they’re well equipped on both sides: technical skills and domain knowledge.”

During his years at Hamilton, Kuruwita said he has seen incredible work done by his students in the field of data science and looks forward to when the first cohort of data science majors present their senior projects in four year.

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