The primary focus of the COMAST (Computational Mathematics and Statistics) program is the creation of an undergraduate degree that will meet the needs of future statisticians. The principles of COMAST follow the three components of the education of the modern statistician, namely: (a) a broader meaning of statistical computing to include data methods and statistical presentations using new technologies; (b) a deeper understanding of computational reasoning including concepts of programming languages and written computational algorithms; and (c) the teaching of computing in the context of statistical practice. The new courses to be established as the backbone of the COMAST program will be aligned with these three components and thus will reflect the needs of the modern statistician in this world where big data are abundant. The creation of these new courses will lead to both summer workshops and webinars, allowing faculty within the Department of Mathematics and Statistics as well as faculty in many other departments to understand the new methods and technologies to analyze big data regardless of discipline.
The new degree program Computational Mathematics and Statistics(COMAST) will include two new courses in statistical thinking, a course in statistical programming, and two new courses in computer programming. The program will culminate in a two-semester research project, working with faculty throughout the University who are dealing with Big Data. These faculty members would serve as mentors to the students. Written results will be compiled and presented at an end-of-year symposium, similar to two existing innovative programs, the ACTION program and the SetGo program (NSF-funded) at BGSU, both of which have an undergraduate research component. A secondary focus is the training of other faculty in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at BGSU in computational science and data science, as well as faculty from other departments. To accomplish this, two summer workshops will be offered in summers three and four. The workshop will also be offered as a webinar so that faculty from other institutions will learn how to deal with big data using new statistical thinking techniques. Training for on-site faculty in high-end computing resources through regional workshops and/or conferences will be supported. Courses in the COMAST program, as well as the summer workshops, would be taught in a computer classroom, designed to accommodate the instructional approaches that model data driven research. COMAST graduates will be well positioned for new job opportunities because of their preparation, while faculty in other departments will look to the Department of Mathematics and Statistics for assistance in their research. Due to the workshops and webinars that will be made available for faculty at other institutions, along with workshops at ASA meetings, the content and teaching approaches of these new courses will be disseminated statewide and nationally.