The Data Science Discovery Program sits squarely at the intersection of two of UC Berkeley’s biggest strengths: innovative data science research and a campus-wide commitment to social impact.

Founded in 2015Discovery connects undergraduates with hands-on, team-based opportunities to contribute to cutting-edge data research projects.  They get the chance to work with experts, graduates, postdoctoral students, community groups, entrepreneurial ventures, and educational initiatives across UC Berkeley. Project partners have included organizations like UCSF, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, NASA and many more.

As part of the Discovery Program, students have access to a formal project management course (DS 198) along with on-demand project advising, technical consultations, and cloud computing credits. Students receive academic credit for their participation in the program and have the opportunity to show off their work to the broader community at the end of the semester during the renowned Discovery Showcase.

Our project partners are able to increase their organization’s capacity for data-related work by tapping into the expertise of UC Berkeley’s excellent students. Project partners provide direction, mentorship and domain expertise during weekly meetings with student researchers. 

Why Discovery

When passionate practitioners and highly trained data science students come together, big things happen. Discovery projects have used satellite imagery to bring real-time pest information to farmers in Africa, restructured data infrastructures to facilitate water quality monitoring by state regulators in California, and used computer vision to help UCSF doctors identify irregularities in x-ray images. And that’s just the beginning. Check out some of our projects from this and past semester.

Data science is an intrinsically interdisciplinary field with the potential for wide-reaching, scalable impact, and UC Berkeley has been on the cutting edge of increasing access to data science education to all students across campus and beyond. As part of the newly formed Division of Computing, Data Science and Society, the Data Science Discovery Program is able to reach more students per year than any other comparable program in the country. This past semester, Discovery worked with over 130 students on more than 40 projects, with plans to double those numbers by Spring 2021. We can’t wait to see what our Discovery student researchers will create next as they continue to inspire change by harnessing the power of data.