In order to obtain a Master’s degree in Computer Science, students in the Program must obtain 24 credits in subjects, with nine core subjects and 15 core subjects. Students also need to take the courses Seminar for Dissertation and Research for Dissertation, both without attribution, but compulsory. In the Seminar for Dissertation discipline, the students present the dissertation proposal, which must be approved by the Examining Board. The students study the Research for Dissertation discipline, once already having their proposal approved, for elaboration and defense of their dissertation. In the case of scholarship students, it is mandatory to comply with the Teaching Internship discipline. The course is organized on a quarterly basis. The above information is contained in the Program standard.
It is worth mentioning the commitment of the PPCIC to train graduates in Computing with skills of data scientists. There is a great debate in academia and industry about the precise definition of the term Data Science. One can interpret Data Science as an evolution of multidisciplinary areas that incorporate Computer Science, Modeling and Statistics in order to extract knowledge from the processing of large data volumes (MDS 2015). In this context, it is a technical-scientific challenge in computing the methodical study for the generalized extraction and scale of relevant knowledge from an immense mass of data, usually dynamic (Jagadish et al., 2014).
In this highly multidisciplinary environment with applications in such different areas, the great challenge common to applications in these many areas of identifying the fundamental principles, methods and techniques for managing and analyzing large volumes of data emerges (Jacobs 2009; Lazer et al. 2014). Data Science appears, therefore, as a set of actions applied to a collection of data that leads to the discovery of knowledge (i.e., trends, relations, patterns underlying those data). It is called the Data Science process to the chaining of a set of steps, which begins with the selection of the data until the extraction of knowledge. The steps that make up the process can be organized into four stages: selection, pre-processing, analysis and evaluation (Han, Kamber, and Pei 2011). The process can be understood as a particular case of in-silico scientific experimentation (Stevens, Zhao, and Goble 2007) or e-Science, in which data is voluminous, data structures need to be well Defined, and the methods of selection, pre-processing and data analysis are computationally intensive.
Specifically, we identified two main lines of research whose maturity we believe will lead to the consolidation of the area of Data Science within a horizon of a few years of research and development: (i) Data Management and Applications and (ii) Data Based Methods, which are best described on page Research Areas.
Considering the egress profile of the Program, it aims to train highly qualified human resources and serve as a foundation for its projection in the knowledge society, the PPCIC master’s course offers students a range of computing disciplines articulated with the research lines of the Program promoting comprehensive and current training. During the formulation of the PPCIC curricular structure, we compared our proposal to the 23 largest master’s programs in US Data Science (MDS 2015). Furthermore, in the formulation of the disciplines, we try not to use terms such as BigData and Map-Reduce. We prefer to adopt the corresponding theoretical framework, such as Large Scale Data Management and Parallel and Distributed Computing, respectively.
On page Courses are available the courses offered by the program, identifying those that are of the Basic Core and those of the Specific Core.
Innovative Training Experiences
The PPCIC uses educational technologies in the Master’s Program. Their teaching materials are primarily and preferably accessed through the Moodle Platform. Through the platform, students have access to support materials, submit work and interact with each other and teachers. The classrooms were recently equipped with interactive whiteboards with resources for teachers.
In addition, there is a planning of greater interaction between undergraduate and postgraduate courses through the undergraduate degree called “Applied Research Practice”. In this discipline, Master’s students can carry out the Teaching Practice by formulating themes peripheral to their masters research that will be developed by groups of students throughout the course and that can be used as work topics for the conclusion of the undergraduate course. These initiatives are very positive because they generate a greater synergy between undergraduate and postgraduate, more quickly awaken the vocation of collaborative work in Research & Development in masters students and at the same time the interest of undergraduates in improving their training while deciding to take the master’s degree.
Another innovative feature is the Weekly Research Seminar. These seminars aim to stimulate PPCIC learners in their ability to organize their research and present their ideas. The seminars take place during each academic term, with the participation of students enrolled in the second quarter of the course onwards. In the seminars the students present: (i) articles accepted for publication in conferences, for rehearsal purposes; (Ii) articles made over some course in the previous quarter; (Iii) an account of the evolution of his research. Through such presentations, students gain feedback on their work and presentations, aiding in their academic development.
The Weekly Research Seminars are integrated into the discipline of Scientific Methodology in Computation. Thus, newcomers to the course have the opportunity to observe in practice the concepts explored in the discipline, as well as to know the researches in progress by other students and to allow a greater integration between them.
It is also worth mentioning the participation of undergraduate students in the seminars, as an additional activity to their training, through the computation of compulsory hours. Such participation is important, allowing a greater integration of these with the students of the PPCIC. Along with the discipline of Applied Research Practice, the seminars represent yet another stimulus for undergraduates to pursue their masters degree.