The Division of Data Sciences stands alongside the University’s schools and colleges, bringing together new initiatives in data-intensive discovery and education; advancing the data revolution across disciplines; and equipping students to serve as leaders, creators, change agents, and decisionmakers in a data-rich world. Its collaborative design reflects the interdisciplinary nature of data science, or processing, managing, and drawing conclusions from data to gain understanding in virtually any domain, from evolutionary genetics to urban planning.
The Division is UC Berkeley’s strategic response to the burgeoning opportunities and demands of research and innovation as data increasingly touches every aspect of our lives and opens new vistas in the advance of knowledge. It originated in 2014 with a team of faculty charged with “rethinking at a fundamental level what every educated person must know about quantitative reasoning: how to effectively understand, process, and interpret information to inform decisions in their professional and personal lives and as citizens of the world in the 21st century.”
What emerged was a vision to leverage Berkeley’s strengths across disciplines and connect them throughout campus to advance an innovative, integrated approach to data science research, teaching, and public impact. In 2017, the University established an interim Division of Data Sciences to help move this vision forward.
Building on the accomplishments and the culture of common purpose embodied in our interim Division, in November 2018, the University announced the creation of a unique and powerful institutional structure, provisionally named the Division of Data Science and Information, that will connect departments from the College of Engineering, the College of Letters and Science, and the School of Information. It will incorporate the Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS), and curate a new Data Science Commons to catalyze groups of faculty and students from across the University to open new research domains and develop new fields of study empowered by the data revolution.
The new structure will enable the Division to foster all aspects of the emerging discipline of data science, from its foundations and its applications to its human and societal implications; to continue to grow the Division’s signature programs and expand undergraduate access; and to strengthen our existing programs, while cultivating knowledge and discoveries that transcend their boundaries.