Today we have an unprecedented opportunity to observe and measure how our society intimately works, by analyzing the big data, i.e, the digital breadcrumbs of human activities sensed as a by-product of the ICT systems that we use everyday. Digital breadcrumbs record the real individual and collective human behaviors at great detail and resolution. Big Data are transforming the science and the business and are becoming the key resource – the new oil – of the next future.
According to the forecast of a recent report (Framing a European Partnership for a Big Data Value Ecosystem), “Europe can leverage the fast growing market of Big Data so that by 2020 it will play a leading role in the global market around the creation of value from Big Data. [...] By the end of this decade, data business has become a key industry in Europe developing products and services around data itself, the analysis of data, and by using the insights gained by analysing data. Data-driven applications will help companies to design better products, to improve their business plans, and to create new business models. They will help governments to implement policies more effectively and individuals to improve the quality of their lives. People will trust those data-driven applications and will use them broadly.”
The idea of Big Data is emerging together with the hope of exploiting the knowledge hidden in these data with the aim of solving fundamental problems of our society and the economy. There is, however, a formidable obstacle to the realization of this dream: to transform vast oceans of messy data into knowledge is an extremely difficult task and, unfortunately, the number of qualified professionals able to address the challenge is absolutely insufficient. All observers agree that the abundance of big data coexists with profound lack of data scientists, the professional position emerging and valuable combining "the skills of computer, statistical and narrator to extract the nuggets of gold hidden under mountains of data"; the work that The Economist calls "the sexiest job of the 21st century" (Data, data everywhere).
Our Master Big Data has precisely the aim of train "data scientists", professionals with a mix of multi-disciplinary skills that allow not only to acquire data and extract knowledge from them, but also to tell "stories" through these data, to support decisions, the creativity and the development of innovative services, and to handle the ethical and legal implications of big data, which often contain personal information and raise issues related to privacy, transparency, awareness.
The master is annual and provides 60 credits, including 30 credits dedicated to teaching and 30 credits dedicated to project activity carried out in collaboration with companies and institutions. Seminars will be organized on the use and impact of Big Data in industrial processes and innovation; speakers of these seminars will be representatives of companies and institutions partners. The second part of the Master thus provides internships and boot-camp at the companies and institutions which are partner of the Master, under the continuous supervision of a team of academic and industrial tutors for each student or group of students.
Course topics are organized according to 5 technological and scientific areas:
- Big Data Technology (Data Management for Business Intelligence, High Performance & Scalable Analytics, NO-SQL Big Data Platforms)
- Big Data Sensing & Procurement (Analytical Web Crawling, Web Search and Information Retrieval, Text Annotation, Big Data Sources and Crowdsensing)
- Big Data Mining (Data Mining, Machine Learning, Social Network Analysis, Mobility Data Analysis, Web Mining, Nowcasting, Sentiment analysis)
- Big Data Story Telling (Visualization, Visual analytics and Data Journalism)
- Big Data Ethics (Privacy-by-design, EU-Data Protection Regulation, Data Scientist’s Responsibility)
and 2 areas of socio-economic innovation:
- Big Data for Social Good (Analysis of mobility by mobile phone data, traces of satellite navigation systems, sensors, smart-city, etc.). Opinion diffusion, reputation, sentiment and engagement in social media. Big data and official statistics.
- Big Data for Business (Big data in finance and economics, Recommendation Systems, novel CRM applications, Data journalism and the use of Big Data electronic publishing)