(449c) Teaching Big Data Science to Undergraduate Students in the University of Iowa | AIChE

(449c) Teaching Big Data Science to Undergraduate Students in the University of Iowa


Wang, J. - Presenter, University of Iowa
Gomes, J. S., Stanford University
Stanier, C., University of Iowa
In this presentation, we will provide an overview of our course development and our experiences in teaching big data science and analytical skills to the undergraduate students in chemical engineering in the University of Iowa. These courses include: (a) Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) course; (b) statistical analysis course; and (c) thermodynamic course. They are designed to be offered to students from freshman to junior years. We found that in general, the chemical engineering students are not getting used to use programming to analyze the data, in part because many courses they are taking focus more on the lab experiment while the analysis of the lab results is elementary and often done in Excel or by calculator. However, the students are willing to learn new analytical skills, and provided with well-designed teaching materials and problems, they can grasp the big data skills quickly. While the outcome of our experience has been encouraging, we also found there is clear lag in the field of chemical engineering to train our next generation with big data tools. This lag is part is due to the institutional tradition that emphasizes on the lab experiments and often deterministic way of thinking (with less consideration of probabilities), and in part due to the slowness in re-design the curriculum to reflect new development and ease access of ML and AI. We will provide examples to support the findings above, share the lessons we learned, and provide thoughts for next steps.