Course Information

Better Living Through Data Science:

Exploring / Modeling / Predicting / Understanding

Combines techniques from statistics, math, computer science, and social sciences, to learn how to use data to understand natural phenomena, explore patterns, model outcomes, and make predictions. Case studies include examples from election forecasts, movie reviews, and online dating match algorithms. Discussions around reproducibility, data sharing, data privacy will accompany these case studies. Gain experience in data wrangling and munging, exploratory data analysis, predictive modeling, and data visualization, and effective communication of results. Course will focus on R statistical computing language. No computing background necessary. For students in the FOCUS Program.

Part of the What If? Explaining the Past/Predicting the Future cluster.


  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:40-5:55pm, Perkins 2-065

Office Hours:

  • Mondays and Wednesdays 4-5pm or by appointment, Old Chemistry 213
  • SECC - Sunday to Thursday, 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm, Old Chemistry 211A


  • Participation & peer evaluations - 10%
  • Application exercises - 10%
  • Homework - 20%
  • Midterm project - 15%
  • Final project - 20%
  • Final exam - 25%

Note that class attendance is a firm expectation; frequent absences or tardiness will be considered a legitimate cause for grade reduction.

The exact ranges for letter grades will be curved and cutoffs will be determined after the final exam. The more evidence there is that the class has mastered the material, the more generous the curve will be.