What is Data Science?

A Multidisciplinary Science for the Future

The increasing digitization of physical and social systems is exponentially increasing the production of data. New technologies are making interconnection, interaction, exchange and data collection easily accessible to governments, public administrations, small and medium-sized private companies, non-governmental organizations and individual citizens.
This is driving a series of relevant economic, social and political changes that require strong innovation in all areas of science and business.

In the psychological and social sphere, Big Data have enormous potential to redesign the ways in which we observe how human behaviors, lifestyles and interactions unfold and evolve over time.

In the public sector, unprecedented data availability raises the complexity of social and economic systems, whose government and governance increasingly call for real-time decision-making.

In the economic and managerial domains, increased availability of information on individual behaviors creates new channels of communication and interaction between companies, consumers, and, more broadly, all stakeholders. In turn, this triggers the development of new business models that fit an increasingly dynamic and complex context thus generating changes in economic policies and markets.

In industry, the so-called Industry 4.0 or Smart Manufacturing is in fact a Data-Driven Manufacturing. Thanks to improved performance and reduced costs of sensoring and processing systems, information extracted from large amounts of data has become crucial for the development of industrial automation and advanced robotics.

Increased availability of massive amounts of data is also of paramount importance for reducing energy costs and environmental impact, increasing productivity, optimizing resources, and, ultimately, competing in the global economy balancing profitability and sustainability. Therefore, data are no longer a mere precondition to create useful information. Rather, they are a resource with its own economic value – a value that grows together with their usability.

The Data Scientist

These transformations are imposing a new professional figure – that of the Data Scientist, a professional scientist with strong transversal skills and capable of working in dynamic and multidisciplinary environments.
The role of a Data Scientist is to analyze data in creative, innovative and conscious ways and thus to provide to decision-makers, whether they are managers, researchers, or representatives of the institutions, the most useful information to define action lines and draw strategies to cope with increased diversity, dynamics and complexity.
A Data Scientist works transversally to all departments of a company, administration or organization transforming data into information that is understandable and, more importantly, useful to make informed decisions, anticipate trends and seize growing opportunities in all areas.

A MSc in Data Science at the University of Trento

To become a true data-savvy manager and an agent of innovation, a future Data Scientist needs to be trained in a highly multidisciplinary fashion and along a unique educational path wherein computing, mathematics, statistics and social and economic sciences are carefully interwoven.
It is precisely with the aim of offering such a peculiar training and educational environment that, at the University of Trento, the Departments of Mathematics, Sociology and Social Research, Information Engineering and Computer Science, Industrial Engineering, Psychology and Cognitive Sciences, Economics and Management, The Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, and the Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK) have decided to set up an interdepartmental MSc in Data Science (Laurea Magistrale in Data Science).