MIDS Immersion – May 2016

Immersions offer students enrolled in the Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) program at the UC Berkeley School of Information an opportunity to experience the Berkeley campus and connect with faculty, staff, and students in person. From May 4–8, in addition to meeting their classmates, students participated in networking events with data science professionals at top organizations during the first immersion of 2016.

Day 1

Welcome Dinner

Overlooking a panoramic view of the Bay Area, students took pictures and chatted with fellow classmates during the Welcome Dinner. This event was the first time many MIDS students had the chance to meet their classmates and professors in person. UC Berkeley’s mascot, Oski, and the Men’s Chorale, a UC Berkeley a cappella group, were on hand to welcome students.

Day 2

Autodesk Company Visit

After breakfast, students headed into San Francisco to visit Autodesk, a 3D design and engineering company. While there, MIDS students were given an exclusive guided tour of the Autodesk Gallery, which features more than 20 exhibits illustrating the creative design possibilities that Autodesk products offer.

Following the tour, MIDS students attended a Q&A panel led by four Autodesk employees who discussed the importance of data science and data analytics and answered the students’ questions. The panel members consisted of:

  • Charlie Crocker, director, product analytics (Product Development Group)
  • Adam Sugano, head of predictive modeling and advanced analytics (Industry, Strategy, and Marketing)
  • Charis Kaskiris, principal data scientist (Product Development Group – BIM360)
  • Shubham Goel, data visualization engineer (Product Development Group – BIM360)

DataEDGE Conference

In the afternoon, students were back on campus at Sutardja Dai Hall for DataEDGE, a two-day conference featuring data science experts from academia and industry. The day began with keynote speaker Jake Porway, who spoke about Data Science for the Greater Good. Students also listened to three panel discussions, which included:

Beyond the Hype: Making the Internet of Things a Reality 
Trainspotting and Predicting Train Delays 
Data Science and Cybersecurity: A Two-Way Street

Students concluded the day by networking at the DataEDGE reception and exploring the Berkeley campus.

"I was most looking forward to seeing how different companies like Netflix used analytics to drive value and enhance their business proposition. My biggest takeaway was that analytics is very powerful, but can be challenging to implement! By far, spending time with my classmates was the most memorable experience. After taking over a year of classes with many of them, seeing them in person was a wonderful experience. We went out, explored Berkeley, and had a great time!"

Filip Krunic, datascience@berkeley student

Day 3

DataEDGE Conference Continued

MIDS students once again headed to Sutardja Dai Hall for a full day of DataEDGE. Conference attendees were greeted with opening remarks from Jonathan Star, principal of Scenario Insight,and I School Dean Saxenian.

As part of her opening remarks, Dean Saxenian announced the launch of The Jack Larson Data For Good Fellowship. The fellowship is available to MIDS students who have ambitions to use data science to benefit society. Successful applicants will come from community-service backgrounds or be able to demonstrate how they intend to use the data science skills gained during the MIDS program for the good of others.

Throughout the conference, MIDS students mingled with representatives from Wells Fargo, the BNY Mellon Innovation Center, PwC, Silicon Valley Data Science, Berkeley Institute of Data Science, and Acxiom. 

DataEDGE Keynote Address
A Look Back from 2026: How the Deep Learning Revolution Happened by Jeremy Howard

DataEDGE Presentations
Ethical Considerations in Online Consumer Product Experimentationby Caitlin Smallwood 
Sports Analytics and the Giants: Dynamic Opportunities and Strategies for Revenue Generation by Jerry Drobny 
Data Science at Udemy: Agile Experimentation with Algorithms  by Larry Wai 
Network Intelligence at LinkedIn by Mike Conover 
Elections and Voter Data: The Good, The Bad and The Uglyby Joseph Lorenzo Halland Andreas Weigend 
Data Engineering and Data Science: Bridging the Gap by Josh Wills 
Open Police Data for Transparency and Accountability by Laura Paajanen Ellena

DataEDGE Panel Discussions
Using Data to Drive Social Impact 
The Hadoop Data Warehouse: The Role of Open Source Software in Big Data and Analytics

I School Community Social

Following the DataEDGE Conference, MIDS students relaxed with I School students and faculty over hot dogs, beer, and ice cream sundaes on the South Hall lawn.

Day 4

Goodbye Breakfast and Giants Game

The final day of the MIDS immersion began with an early breakfast at South Hall and a session presented by I School professor Morten Hansen that focused on leadership trends and lessons from his research on how to be an effective leader.

Following Professor Hansen’s talk, Dean Saxenian led a town hall meeting, where she shared updates about the MIDS program and conducted a Q&A session with MIDS students. That afternoon, MIDS students capped off their immersion experience by crossing the bridge into San Francisco for a baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and the Colorado Rockies.

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