CSIS 344 Introduction to Data Science

Course Description

An introduction to foundational concepts in data science, including: information retrieval and storage, preprocessing, visualization, exploratory data analysis, applied machine learning, research methods, and experimental design. Students will develop solutions to computational problems spanning a variety of disciplines using state-of-the-art scientific programming tools and techniques, with an emphasis on the interpretation and presentation of experimental results.


Brian R. Snider
Office hours: Wood-Mar 222 (see schedule)





Students will understand:

Students will gain practical experience processing, visualizing, and exploring data, and will design and implement solutions to computational problems spanning a variety of disciplines.

Course Organization

This course consists of lectures and hands-on programming and data visualization exercises. Assignments will be carried out in the Python programming language. Some instruction in the use of this language and its supporting packages will be provided during lecture; however, I expect that you will consult additional resources to supplement your knowledge.

The course will include regular homework and/or programming assignments. There will be no credit given for late assignments (without an excused absence)—turn in as much as you can. Unless otherwise specified, no handwritten work will be accepted.

Reading should be completed before the lecture covering the material per the provided schedule. Not all reading material will be covered in the lectures, but you will be responsible for the material on homework and exams. Quizzes over the assigned reading may be given at any time.

Collaboration and Academic Integrity

See the GFU CS/IS/Cyber policies for collaboration and discussion of collaboration and academic integrity. Most students would be surprised at how easy it is to detect collaboration or other academic integrity violations such as plagiarism in programming—please do not test us! Remember: you always have willing and legal collaborators in the faculty. We encourage you visit office hours, ask questions in class, and use the class mailing list for assistance.

Unless otherwise specified (e.g., for a group assignment or project), you are expected to do your own work. This also applies to the use of online resources (e.g., StackOverflow, ChatGPT). Put simply: if you are representing someone else's work as your own, you are being dishonest. Any suspected incidents of academic integrity violations will be investigated and reported to the Academic Affairs Office as they arise.

Almost all of life is filled with collaboration (i.e., people working together). Yet in our academic system, we artificially limit collaboration. These limits are designed to force you to learn fundamental principles and build specific skills. It is very artificial, and you'll find that collaboration is a valuable skill in the working world. While some of you may be tempted to collaborate too much, others will collaborate too little. When appropriate, it's a good idea to make use of others—the purpose here is to learn. Be sure to make the most of this opportunity but do it earnestly and with integrity.

University Resources

If you have specific physical, psychiatric, or learning disabilities and require accommodations, please contact Disability & Accessibility Services as early as possible so that your learning needs can be appropriately met. For more information, go to georgefox.edu/das or contact das@georgefox.edu).

My desire as a professor is for this course to be welcoming to, accessible to, and usable by everyone, including students who are English-language learners, have a variety of learning preferences, have disabilities, or are new to online learning systems. Be sure to let me know immediately if you encounter a required element or resource in the course that is not accessible to you. Also, let me know of changes I can make to the course so that it is more welcoming to, accessible to, or usable by students who take this course in the future.

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) on the Newberg campus provides all undergraduate students with free writing consultation, academic coaching, and learning strategy review (e.g., techniques to improve reading, note-taking, study, time management). The ARC offers in-person appointments; if necessary, Zoom appointments can be arranged by request. The ARC, located on the first floor of the Murdock Library, is open from 1:00–10:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 12:00–4:00 p.m. on Friday. To schedule an appointment, go to the online schedule at web.penjiapp.com/schools/george-fox, call 503-554-2327, email the_arc@georgefox.edu, or stop by the ARC. Visit arc.georgefox.edu for information about ARC Consultants' areas of study, instructions for scheduling an appointment, learning tips, and a list of other tutoring options on campus.

Health and Safety Considerations

Please review the entirety of the university's official COVID-19 web page for the most up-to-date community guidance.


Grading Scale

The final course grade will be based on:

Graded course activities will be posted to Canvas. Take care to read the specifications carefully and proceed as directed. Failure to pay attention to detail will often result in few to zero points being awarded on a given activity.

Grades will be updated as often as possible; you are encouraged to use the "What-If" functionality to calculate your total grade by entering hypothetical scores for various items.

Note that some graded activities in this course will be submitted via GitLab.

Tentative Schedule

Week 1 · 1/10

Introduction; Environment Setup

ReferencesConda, PyCharm

Week 1 · 1/12

Filesystem-Based Data

ReferencesFilesystem, I/O, CSV

Week 2 · 1/17

Python Lists, Tuples, Sets, and Dictionaries

ReferencesPython structures

Week 2 · 1/19

NumPy Arrays

Referencesnumpy.ndarray, numpy.genfromtxt

Week 3 · 1/24

Exploratory Data Analysis and Visualization

Referencesscipy.stats, matplotlib.pyplot

Week 3 · 1/26

Plot Layout and Formatting; Plot Types

Referencesmatplotlib guide, samples

Week 4 · 1/31

Outliers and Missing Values

Referencesnumpy.genfromtxt, sklearn.impute

Week 4 · 2/2

Transforming and Encoding Data


Week 5 · 2/7, 2/9

Data Exploration presentations

Week 6 · 2/14

Pandas DataFrame and Series

ReferencesPandas overview, structures, I/O

Week 6 · 2/16

Additional Data Formats and Tools

Referencesnumpy, scipy.io, json, sqlite3, skimage, skvideo

Week 7 · 2/21

Hypothesis Formulation and Testing

ReferencesStatistical testing, scipy.stats

Week 7 · 2/23

Statistical Assumptions

Referencesscipy.stats, matplotlib.pyplot.hist

Week 8 · 2/28

Hypothesis presentations

Week 8 · 3/2

Midterm exam

Week 9 · 3/7



Week 9 · 3/9


Referencessklearn.linear_model, sklearn.svm

Week 10 · 3/14



Week 10 · 3/16

Evaluation Metrics


Week 11 · 3/21

Visualizing Results


Week 11 · 3/23

Cross-Validation and Hyper-Parameter Tuning

Referencessklearn.model_selection (CV), sklearn.model_selection (grid search)

Week 12 · 3/27–3/31

Spring break—no classes

Week 13 · 4/4

Domains, Libraries, and Visualization Tools

ReferencesNumPy ecosystem, PyViz

Week 13 · 4/6

Case Studies

ReferencesNumPy case studies

Week 14 · 4/11, 4/13

Selected Topics

Week 15 · 4/18, 4/20

Project presentations

Week 16 · TBD

Final exam

This page was last modified on 2023-01-19 at 09:30:25.

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