Bricks Before Clicks

The data science wave continues to wash over the higher education sector with new programs and initiatives seemingly being announced each week. That latest development is at UC Berkeley where the largest gift in the history of the university will support the construction of a new facility to serve as the hub for faculty and student work to advance data science. The $252 million dollar gift will be more than doubled by other private gifts to fund the new construction.

The new facility will function to bring together researchers and students across the campus working in data science. This will include computer scientists, data scientists, and statisticians as well as ethicists, legal scholars, sociologists and others involved in data science work. While the materials of data science are largely quantitative and digital, it is both ironic and perhaps comforting that the physical proximity and face-to-face interaction only possible in a large unified facility like the new data hub is viewed as essential to work in the field.

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