MIDS Immersion – May 2015

The UC Berkeley School of Information welcomed 60 students to campus for three days of conferences, networking, and hands-on data science instruction during the third Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) immersion. 

DAYS 1 & 2

UC Berkeley lecturer Doy Charnsupharindr was the first to speak to the MIDS students, leading them in a workshop on how to find your authentic voice as a leader. Offering stories from his experience, he emphasized that this voice is not just used for speaking; if you are to be a true leader, equal weight should be given to listening and observing. The students then participated in a number of activities meant to draw them together across cohorts and teach them to listen to the experiences of their fellow students.

Next, students participated in a networking lunch. They mingled with representatives from companies eager to meet with the next wave of data science leaders, including Wells Fargo, Auction.com, Udemy, Pandora, Autodesk, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and more organizations. Conversations were lively, with industry representatives asking students about their coursework and career goals, and students uncovering more about top-line companies.

The lunch was followed by an overview of the datascience@berkeley career services. Career services coordinator Anita Singh reminded the students about the resources and connections that the I School provides. Students then broke into groups to perfect their elevator pitches.

The end of the first day and entire second day of the MIDS immersion was given over to the annual Berkeley I School DataEDGE conference. Speakers, including Jawbone's Monica Rogati, Palantir's Ari Gesher, Motiga's Kimberly Stedman, and Code for America's Jennifer Pahlka, led the audience through talks on data visualization, the Internet of Things (IoT), how data is used to solve government problems, and more. Students were highly engaged, asking questions and networking with their practicing data scientists and industry leaders.


On the final day of the MIDS immersion, professor Steve Weber took the stage to talk to the students about cybersecurity. Weber noted that, as data scientists, students should find cybersecurity “interesting, provocative, [and] maybe even a bit troubling.”

Then, professor John Chuang talked to the students about neurosensing at scale. Neurosensing is already being used in the lab, where researchers are working on controlling cars, wheelchairs, airplanes, and exoskeletons with brainwaves.

Chuang's work explores authentication using brainwaves, leading to passthoughts rather than passwords. Passthoughts are a form of one-step, two-factor authentication, which is often used for for email security. His current research questions center around the usability and effectiveness of single channel EEG (versus medical grade EEG).

"It's great to see innovative applications in action. Dr. Chuang's session on neurosensing at scale highlighted how exciting data science can be. I had never considered brain-wave sensing before and can't wait to see the data!"

Evan Kepner, September 2014 Cohort 

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