N.C. A&T College of Engineering Department Changes Name, Expands Curriculum

By Alexander Saunders / 12/28/2020 College of Engineering

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Dec. 28, 2020) – The newly renamed Department of Computational Data Science and Engineering (CDSE) at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is changing more than just its name. The updated master’s program, now called Data Science and Engineering, and the updated doctoral program, Computational Data Science and Engineering, both offer new courses and focuses relevant to the future of engineering disciplines.

“What is unique about the Computational Data Science and Engineering discipline is that it adds an extra layer of expertise to STEM degrees,” said Marwan Bikdash, Ph.D., chair of the CDSE department. “What the 21st-century engineers and scientists need to be successful in their future professions is the ability to apply machine learning and other advanced analysis algorithms to the large datasets that arise in their own field of interest­– be it physics, mechanical engineering or e-commerce, to understand and visualize important and hidden patterns.”

The CDSE M.S. and Ph.D. programs teach students the power of state-of-the-art computers, as well as data modeling and machine intelligence, to address challenging problems encountered in industry and government.

“It’s a new computational way of thinking. That’s where we excel,” said Bikdash.

The CDSE department came to the decision collaboratively, with a goal of delivering competitive options for students and researchers. Today’s students are eager to add data skills to their repertoire, which makes them even more competitive to employers in business and industry. These skills include the ability to acquire, store and manipulate large quantities of diverse and fast-changing data, to analyze them and reach thorough, validated results that can be used by customers and managers, alike. These new courses offered by the CDSE department will ensure students reach a level of comfort and familiarity with coding, software design and super-computing. 

CDSE also introduced two new courses at the M.S. level with a focus on data science application, the technical, business and ethical issues arising in the handling of big data and the computational thinking required to reach and visualize actionable decisions.

Within 15 months, the CDSE department recently hired three additional core faculty in the fields of machine learning, data science and engineering, supercomputing, advanced visualization and augmented and virtual reality. These energetic and ambitious faculty members bring additional interdisciplinary expertise from electrical engineering, remote sensing, bioinformatics and bio- and nano-engineering. 

Students and faculty affiliated with CDSE have access to the state-of-the-art high-performance computing facilities of ViCAR, a research computing center managed by the department, including a Cray X30 supercomputer, a Compellent peta-byte data storage, and a $500K 3D Mechdyne ARC immersive visualization system.

The CDSE department invites students who are curious about the future of computational data science and are devoted to excellence in engineering to apply to the M.S. or Ph.D. programs.

Media Contact Information: uncomm@ncat.edu

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