Data Science Connector Courses

spring 2018 connector courses

Connector courses weave together core concepts and approaches from Data 8 with complementary ideas or areas. Along the way, students gain additional experience, broader insights, or deeper theoretical or computational foundations. 

Offered by faculty across many departments and fields of study, connectors are optional but highly encouraged and are designed to be taken at the same time or after the Foundations course. They offer two or more units of course credit. Data 8 and connectors complement each other and often use similar materials or tools.

For connector courses being offered in the current/next semester, please visit the courses page by clicking on the button below.

For current and future connector instructors who are interested in learning more about the technology and workflows behind the program, please visit the Connector Guide

Connector Courses from 2015 - Present

Below is a list of all connector courses that have been offered since Fall 2015. Click on courses page to view current connector course offerings.

Title Course number Description
Data Science for Smart Cities CIV ENG 88 Design and operation of smart, efficient, and resilient cities nowadays require data science skills. This course provides an introduction to working with data generated within transportation systems, power grids, communication networks, as well as collected via crowd-sensing and remote sensing technologies.
Time Series Analysis: Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding CIV ENG 88B In this course, we will pursue analysis of long-term records of coastal water levels in the context of sea level rise. We will cover the collection, evaluation, visualization and analysis of time series data using long-term records of sea levels from coastal sites around the world.
Data Science and the Mind COGSCI 88 How does the human mind work? We explore this question by analyzing a range of data concerning such topics as human rationality and irrationality, human memory, how objects and events are represented in the mind, and the relation of language and cognition.
Computational Structures in Data Science COMPSCI 88 Introduction to computer science in the context of data science. This course provides a formal and rigorous introduction to the programming topics that appear in Foundations of Data Science, expands the repertoire of computational concepts, and exposes students to techniques of abstraction at several levels, including layers of software and machines from a programmers’ point of view.
Data Science & Immigration DEMOG 88 This course will cover the small but important part of the rich history of human migration that deals with the population of the United States--focusing on the period between 1850 and the present.
Exploring Geospatial Data ESPM 88A From interactive web maps to spatial data analysis, digital geographic data and information are becoming an important part of the data science landscape. Almost everything happens somewhere that can be mapped on the surface of the earth.
Data Sciences in Ecology and the Environment ESPM 88B In this course students will apply methods learned in the Foundations course to explore, pose, and answer key questions using relevant data from the Ecological and Environmental Sciences.
Data Science Applications in Geography GEOG 88 Data science methods are increasingly important in geography and earth science. This course introduces some of the particular challenges of working with spatial data arising from characteristics specific to such data.
How Does History Count? HIST 88 We will explore how historical data becomes historical evidence and how recent technological advances affect long-established practices, such as close attention to historical context and contingency. Will the advent of fast computing and big data make history “count” more or lead to unprecedented insights into the study of change over time?
How Does History Count? Exploring Japanese-American Internment through Digital Sources HIST 88 On February 19, 1942, Executive Order 9066 authorized the detention of more than 120,000 people of Japanese descent, most of them American citizens living on the west coast. In this data science connector course, students will learn emerging digital methods for conducting historical research, which they will apply to the study of Japanese-American Internment.
Data and Ethics INFO 88A This course provides an introduction to critical and ethical issues surrounding data and society.
Race, Policing, and Data Science L&S 39D In this class, we will review available data sources on race and policing and ask what those data have to say about current events and the types of claims, typically causal, commonly invoked in public discourse surrounding these issues.
Social Networks L&S 88 Insights from the study of social networks are used in a wide range of real-world settings, from predicting and preventing the spread of Ebola, to convincing people to vote for a political candidate, to connecting people across the globe through Facebook. Learn how to work with social network data and why it’s useful.
Data Science for Cognitive Neuroscience L&S 88 The human brain is a complex information processing system and is currently the topic of multiple fascinating branches of research. Understanding how it works is a very challenging scientific task.
Health, Human Behavior, and Data L&S 88 We will examine and discuss measures of human health and longevity alongside arrays of measurable influences on health, identifying the key questions traditionally addressed in health sciences and exploring the current frontier. We will develop broad knowledge of the metrics, methods, and challenges, and we will apply them toward understanding of current issues in health policy.
Child Development Around the World: Analyzing Household Data Sets L&S 88 How can we improve children’s health and learning in the developing world? Students will use the World Bank’s household survey data to explore relationships between nutrition and education outcomes and a variety of socioeconomic variables.
Genomics and Data Science L&S 88 Genomics is triggering a revolution in medical discovery. Students will explore genomic data, including HIV genomics, personal genomics, and DNA forensics, as well as related legal and ethical issues. Biology background not required.
Literature and Data L&S 88 In this course, we will apply methods learned in Foundations of Data Science to sets of literary texts in order to expand our reading practices. This humanities-oriented approach will require us to think about the limits of both new and traditional reading methods and how we make arguments based on data.
Web Data Visualization L&S 88

The course introduces students to Web science with a focus on how the Web works, types of Web data, and how to generate effective visualizations for Web data (e.g., social networks). The course covers basic principles and tools for understanding and visualizing Web data. It focuses heavily on project work that aims to give students hands-on experience with handling Web data. Because Web science is interdisciplinary by nature, this course connects students to different disciplines such as social science, computer science, and information science. At the end of the course, students should be able to apply Web mining techniques on and draw insights from real world data.

Behind the Curtain in Economic Development

L&S 88

This class will give students hands on experience looking at how data is gathered for analysis and provide context for the use of data for studying applied issues in economic development. The background will be a set of policy questions from a field study in rural Kenya on child health and clean drinking water.

Rediscovering Texts as Data L&S 88

Humanists have traditionally emphasized the ‘close reading’ of a text, where value is placed on the nuances of specific passages. The increasing amount of digital text being published and archived affords us an opportunity to read text differently—as data on a scale larger than ever before. This ‘distant reading’ approach (mediated through the computer) complements our ‘close reading’ by providing a broader context for interpretation previously inaccessible.

Crime and Punishment: Taking the Measure of the US Justice System LEGALST 88 We will explore how data are used in the criminal justice system by exploring the debates surrounding mass incarceration and evaluating a number of different data sources that bear on police practices, incarceration, and criminal justice reform.
Immunotherapy of Cancer: Success and Failure MCB 88 We will work with a variety of datasets that describe a molecular view of cells and how they divide. We will learn about the processes that cause cells to become specialized (differentiate) and to give rise to cancer (transform).
Probability and Mathematical Statistics in Data Science STAT 88 In this connector course we will state precisely and prove results discovered in the foundational data science course through working with data.
Introduction to Matrices and Graphs in Data Science STAT 89A This connector will cover introductory topics in the mathematics of data science, focusing on discrete probability and linear algebra and the connections between them that are useful in modern theory and practice.

Connector FAQs

What is a connector?

  • A connector course lets you weave together core concepts and approaches from Data 8 with complementary ideas or areas. Along the way you gain additional experience, broader insights, or deeper theoretical or computational foundations. Connectors are taught by instructors from departments across campus. Data 8 and connectors complement each other and often use similar materials or tools.

How do I find a connector?

  • Most connectors are numbered 88 (but not all of them). Check the list of all courses this semester. Then enroll through Cal Central.

What areas are connectors offered in?

Can I take more than one connector?

  • Yes. Each connector delves into a rich, distinct area of study.

Am I required to take a connector?

  • No, it’s not required to take a connector, but it’s highly encouraged.

Can I take a connector course at the same time as Data 8? After Data 8?

  • Yes, and yes.

How about before Data 8? What does it mean that Data 8 is a “co- or pre-requisite” for a connector?

  • Data 8 should taken at the same time as or before a connector. Taking the connector first is not recommended.

Do connectors have other prerequisites besides Data 8?

  • Mostly not, but a few do. Please check the course description.

What’s the difference between a connector with 2 units and one with 3 or 4 units?

  • The workload is proportional to the number of units. Connectors with 3 or 4 units may also satisfy other kinds of requirements (major, breadth) on a case-by-case basis.

How many seats are available in connectors?

  • Overall we aim to offer 40-50% as many seats in connectors as in Data 8. The number of seats in each class is set by the department that offers it. Because of the demand, if you’re interested in taking a connector, we encourage you to consider several options from the list available each semester.

Do any connectors fulfill requirements?

  • STAT 88 fulfills some requirements in conjunction with Data 8.

  • STAT 89A in its 4-unit Spring 2018 format can be used as an alternate way to satisfy the linear algebra co-requisite for Data 100 in Spring 2018.
  • It’s under consideration that CS 88, STAT 88, and STAT 89A may be used to fulfill requirements in those programs and the proposed Data Science major and minor programs.
  • It’s possible that other majors will begin to require connectors in their own areas or incorporate them into prerequisite chains. Please check with advisors for each major.