Data Sciences is a rapidly advancing, interdisciplinary field that relies on techniques and theories drawn from machine learning, data mining, scalable data storage, and digital communication, as well as the disciplines of statistics, mathematics, and library sciences.
“What I’m studying now won’t appear in textbooks for another ten years, probably, but it’s already being taught to Baylor students because of our involvement in the research.”
Dr. Jay Pulliam, W.M. Keck Foundation Professor Of Geophysics, College Of Arts And Sciences
Applications of Data Sciences expand the collective approaches supported by these fields to solve problems in diverse areas. The amount of data now routinely produced by life science, physical science, and business domains far outpaces the ability of laboratory researchers, information managers, or other domain experts to manage, collate, or exhaustively analyze available information. To make matters more challenging, domain experts seldom possess the requisite computer infrastructure or intellectual understanding of computational and informatic approaches to effectively analyze their data. Baylor will address the mounting need for dynamic and rapid data analytics that spans virtually all major research emphases on campus. Data Sciences is the field that can drive all others, and investments in this area will significantly strengthen parallel strategic initiatives, most notably Health and Human Flourishing, Leadership, and Ethics.
Our investment in Data Sciences will serve as a virtual consolidation of scalable computation hardware, software, support staff, and faculty expertise on campus. Substantial additions to Baylor’s computing infrastructure will be required to securely store, manage, and transfer enormous amounts of sensitive data, and a consolidated model will increase efficiencies, reduce costs, and maximize capabilities or scale. Investment in the libraries enable faculty and student access to state-of-the-art information sources. This support is essential as we prepare our students for careers in this area.
As it builds, the initiative will also provide a visible point of contact for faculty, students, and external partners to engage in activities and collaborate with Baylor’s Data Sciences experts. Research, educational, and professional training objectives will be focused initially in three complementary areas: (1) Biomedical Informatics, (2) Cybersecurity, and (3) Business Analytics. Ethical uses of largescale data will be an overarching theme that permeates all facets of work. Faculty and students will interact with producers of data, both on and off campus, and develop new methods to manage and interpret life science data, enterprise scale business data, and data from other domains, as well as establish best practices for data analytics, integration, management, and security. This can bring the opportunity to move into the area of commercialization of technology — the process of taking ideas that emerge, giving them traction in the business community, and, thus, creating job opportunities for students. Further, as innovation drives commercialization efforts, the reputation of the University is enhanced significantly. Commercialization of technology also may serve as a sustainable revenue source for further research growth and University operations.