Big data is a current focus for MIT’s outreach to technology-driven enterprises and non-degree students, according to Clara Piloto, Director, Global Programs, MIT Professional Education. The university will offer an Online X program titled “Tackling the Challenges of Big Data” from February 3 to March 17, 2015. The upcoming program follows two successful programs on the topic presented in 2014.
In a recent telephone interview, she said, “MIT Professional Education chose the big data topic for its initial Online X Program because of market demand for the topic and because of big-data initiatives happening on campus.” She noted that faculty members at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) were excited about the topic. Altogether, 12 MIT faculty members agreed to be part of the course, including the two faculty co-directors, Daniela Rus and Sam Madden, both professors of electrical engineering and computer science, and Andrew Lo, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
The course includes five modules covering 18 topic areas with 20 hours of video. Topics include data collection, data storage and processing, extracting structured data from unstructured data, systems issues, analytics, visualization, and applications ranging from medicine to finance.
Piloto said that students enrolling in the big data program should have a computer-science background, but for the first session on the topic, held in 2014, the majority of students were big-data novices. Only 35% identified themselves as proficient in the topic, and only 3% claimed to be experts. Registration costs $545, and students can earn a Certificate of Completion and continuing education units.
Online X programs represent just part of what MIT Professional Education offers, having just completed its 65th year of service. Our February print edition (available online in late January) will have more on MIT’s professional programs.