November 1, 2018

Today, UC Berkeley announced the next stage in its realization of the research university for the 21st Century – serving a connected world, recognizing the profoundly integrative character of the frontiers of knowledge, and using unprecedented observational and computational capabilities to make a positive difference in that world. 

Building on the exciting accomplishments and the culture of common purpose embodied in our interim Division, the University is creating a unique and powerful institutional structure, provisionally named the Division of Data Science and Information, that connects departments from the College of Engineering, the College of Letters and Science, and the School of Information. It incorporates the Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS), and curates a new Data Science Commons that catalyzes formation of 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.   

This innovative structure will allow us to foster all aspects of the emerging discipline of data science, from its foundations and its applications to its human and societal implications, continue to grow the Division’s signature programs, and expand undergraduate access. It will strengthen our existing programs, while cultivating knowledge and discoveries that transcend their boundaries. As a peer integrated with our colleges and schools, the Division adds a new dimension to our comprehensive academic excellence and to our public mission, allowing the very process of discovery and technology inception to be infused with comprehension of societal implications.

In the Division of Data Sciences, we are delighted to have helped chart the path to this day. Years of bottom-up effort and campus-crossing engagement have met with leadership at the campus level to bring us to this point. It is a profound step for UC Berkeley to institutionalize the role of this Division and enable it to take this next step.

I want to express my deep appreciation to the hundreds of faculty, students, and staff who, with brilliance, ingenuity, and dedication, have collaborated to build a robust foundation for launching this bold vision. We look forward to working with the entire campus to help move these important plans forward.  This is an exciting moment for all of us.