Data Science must be incorporated within all future mathematics syllabii, says Loughnane

The first major modern development in computing was the emergence of the personal computer at the end of the 1970s. Then we saw the creation of the internet at the end of the 1990’ paving the way for the ‘Super Highway’.

We are now creating so much data every hour that it is becoming almost impossible to analyse and visualise its importance to business, science, engineering and medicine. However, the third major development in modern computing science is already upon us and it is called Data Science (including data analytics ).

We need to be able to analyse the large data sets that we are creating every hour in a way that is fast, efficient, and easily understood. The essential tools to analyse these large data sets are Mathematics, Statistics, Excel and Python Programming. The current Junior and Leaving Certificate Mathematics do include elements of statistics – but are lacking in the essential data science ingredients.

Dr Bob Loughnane presented a research paper entitled “ Using Spreadsheets with Ad-ins to improve Mathematical Thinking and Problem Solving - An Irish Perspective“ (Presented under the Auspices of the Institute of Mathematics and its applications ).

This paper was presented in the University of Birmingham last July and was very well received. In essence this research paper laid out a road map for the future development of mathematics teaching from primary school through to second and third level education.

Dr Loughnane stated that it is essential that students are introduced to the basic concepts of data science (data analytics ) as early as possible. We are already seeing India, China, Russia and Korea encouraging the use of basic ‘Data Science’ techniques within the bounds of their mathematics syllabii (including primary school mathematics ).

Dr Loughnane has developed a number of data science algorithms that can be used to enhance the teaching of mathematics. He is currently using some of these algorithms in his teaching of ‘Quantitative Methods’ in the Galway Business School in Salthill.

These algorithms are easily incorporated into any mathematics syllabus and do not require the teacher to be a programmer nor an expert in computer science. Dr Loughnane will be giving a short demonstration of these new teaching methods on Wednesday February 21 at 8.30pm in the Galway Business School, Salthill.

Anyone interested in attending this demonstration should email Dr Loughnane at [email protected] .

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