Applied Math Clusters Revealed!

### Actuarial Science (Michelle)

**What is your cluster?**

Actuarial Science

**Why did you choose it? how did you rationalize that to the department?**

I thought it sounded interesting; it was described to me as data science with a focus on risk management.

**What classes have you taken/do you plan to take?**

Statistics 134, 135, 151A

**What classes do you wish you had taken?**

Econ 141, Statistics 133

**What do you plan to do with your major post-grad?**

I will be working as an Actuarial Analyst with Esurance

**What do you do for fun?**

I like finding restaurants I’ve never been to and eating a lot of different cuisines.

**Advice to other students?**

I would really recommend the Cal Actuarial League; since Berkeley doesn’t have an established actuarial science program, it’s pretty much the only comprehensive resource if you are interested in the cluster.

### Computer Science (Borong)

**What is your cluster?**

Computer Science

**Why did you choose it? how did you rationalize that to the department?**

I choose this cluster mainly because I’m also majoring in Computer Science.

**What classes have you taken/do you plan to take?**

I’ve taken/ am taking: Math 104, 105, 110, 113, 125A, 128A/B, 170, 185, 191, 202A, 228A; Computer Science 170, 188, 189, 194-26; Electrical Engineering & Computer Science 126, 127

I plan to take: Math 114, 126, 140, 214, C218A; Computer Science 186 & 281A; Statistics 135, 153, 151A.

**What classes do you wish you had taken?**

I wish I had taken Math 202A and CS 189 earlier.

**What do you plan to do with your major post-grad?**

I plan to do a PhD in applied mathematics.

**What do you do for fun?**

Swim, play video games, watch youtube, play clarinet, etc

**Advice to other students?**

Don’t make up your mind at once, try out more classes before you decide which cluster to choose.

### Data Science (Hubert)

**What is your cluster? **

Data Science

**Why did you choose it? How did you rationalize that to the department?**

I chose data science as a cluster because of my interest in both statistics and computer science. I think data science is a great field to apply the skills, techniques, and theorems we learn in classes to actual data and make a tangible difference in whatever field your interests are in, from healthcare to psychology to public policy. The three cluster courses I decided on were CS 188 – Artificial Intelligence, Data 100 – Data Science Principles/Techniques, and Stat 154 – Machine Learning, all three of which have clear connections to data science.

**What classes have you taken/do you plan to take?**

CS 188, Data 100, Stat 154

**What classes do you wish you had taken?**

I wish I had time to do more computer science coursework, such as CS 170 (Algorithms) or even just more math coursework – Math 172 (Combinatorics) or Math 135 (Set Theory) for example sound pretty interesting!

**What do you plan to do with your major post-grad?**

I’m planning on either a PhD program in statistics or going into industry for the data science field.

**What do you do for fun?**

Swimming, watching hockey, managing a baseball team in an online simulator

**Advice to other students?**

Don’t limit yourself to just courses from the math department! There are a lot of interesting courses out there in the CS/statistics departments, especially that have a more applied focus, particularly with regards to coding, which is an absolutely essential skill. Oh, and on another note, the math student lounge in Evans 1015 is a much nicer place to study than the ground floor library!

### Data Science (Winnie)

**What is your cluster? **

Data Science

**Why did you choose it? How did you rationalize that to the department?**

I chose my cluster because it is applicable in the real life, and I also find it super interesting.

**What classes have you taken/do you plan to take?**

I have taken CS 61A, Data 8, DS 100, Stats 133, Stats 134

**What classes do you wish you had taken?**

I wish I took some more modeling classes in either the Stats department or the CS department.

**What do you plan to do with your major post-grad?**

I hope to pursue a career in data science and data analytics in a field that I’m passionate about.

**What do you do for fun?**

I binge watch (and rewatch) Grey’s Anatomy.

**Advice to other students?**

Don’t be afraid to try out new/different classes, especially those not in the Math department. I took all my electives outside the math department, and they were all very interesting and useful.

### Financial Engineering (Yijia)

**What is your cluster? **

Financial Engineering

**Why did you choose it? How did you rationalize that to the department?**

I chose it when I figured out that I want to study in financial engineering in graduate school.. I went to Berkeley’s Master of Financial Engineering (MFE) Program info session when I was a freshman. After talking to the admission officers, I realized that I could apply many things I learned from math to the field. I asked what kind of students that the program is seeking for, so that I could prepare myself for that. Since the MFE program is at Haas Business School, they have a list of courses that recommended applicants to take. I used that list to form my cluster.

**What classes have you taken/do you plan to take?**

My cluster: Statistics 134 (Probability Theory), Econ C103 (Mathematical Economics) and Math 126 (Partial Differential Equations) or Statistics 155 (Game Theory).

**What classes do you wish you had taken?**

I wish I had time to take more programming courses offered by CS department and some business courses, such as risk analysis course.

**What do you plan to do with your major post-grad?**

I plan to go to graduate school for a Master’s degree.

**What do you do for fun?**

Watch videos of Samoyeds and puppies.

**Advice to other students?**

It’s important to connect with professors, whether by going to office hours regularly or by joining some faculty lunches/dinners.

### Machine Learning (Akhil)

**What is your cluster?**

Machine Learning

**Why did you choose it? how did you rationalize that to the department?**

I had a prior interest in computer science and machine learning was getting really hot, so I thought I’d take a few classes and see if I liked it. It turns out that I really do, especially because a lot of interesting ideas from pure math are now being applied in machine learning research (differential/Riemannian geometry, algebraic topology, etc).

The department already had the Statistics cluster (Stat 134, 135, 150) listed when I chose this, so I knew I could take at least those classes and be covered.

**What classes have you taken/do you plan to take?**

Stat 134, 135, 150, 159, and CS 61A, 61B, 170, 189, 194-129 (now listed as CS 182 – “Designing, Visualizing, and Understanding Neural Networks”)

Most of these are pretty common for people interested in statistics/ML, with the possible exception of Stat 159 – “Reproducible and Collaborative Statistical Data Science.” I would really recommend this class in addition to more theory-heavy courses like Stat 134 (Probability) and CS 189 (Introduction to Machine Learning). When I took Stat 159 with Professor Fernando Perez it was a project-based course taught in Python. I learned a ton of practical skills and would highly recommend it.

**What classes do you wish you had taken?**

This is hard to answer because there are literally dozens of classes I wish could have taken. In terms of ML, I think the optimization series (EE 127/227A, 227B, 227C) and Math 221 (advanced matrix computations) would have been most helpful.

**What do you plan to do with your major post-grad?**

I plan to work in industry, specifically in data science or machine learning engineering, before hopefully doing a PhD.

**What do you do for fun?**

I like cooking, running, and playing chess (not that I’m very good at any of these).

**Advice to other students?**

Don’t overload yourself with too many technical classes in one semester! Even if you end up doing well in all of them, you’ll be stressed and won’t retain much of it afterward. I took 4 technical classes one semester and really regret it – I spent all my time studying, and I only ever had time to cram the bare minimum material to do well on tests, so I find myself remembering very little.

### Mathematical Biology (Sam)

**What is your cluster? **

Mathematical Biology

**Why did you choose it? How did you rationalize that to the department?**

I am double majoring in MCB. I originally intended to minor in Math and declared spring of my junior year. I want to pursue research in biomedical informatics as a clinician, so math bio was a natural fit. My cluster courses are Math 127, MCB 166 (Biophysical Neurobiology), and Stat 134. The latter two were approved by my advisor (Hammond) when I explained that I was interested in computational neurobiology and showed him the syllabus. The course contains a significant amount of math, since the class is about mathematical modeling of neurobiological systems.

**What classes have you taken/do you plan to take?**

I took Math 127 and am taking Stat 134 and MCB 166.

**What classes do you wish you had taken?**

CS 176 – Algorithms for Computational Biology

**What do you plan to do with your major post-grad?**

Medical School

**What do you do for fun?**

Club gymnastics

**Advice to other students?**

Explore your passions early! I knew I loved both biology and math, but was afraid overloading myself and didn’t give myself enough opportunities to really explore what I could do in computational biology. I really benefited from great faculty mentors in my upper division MCB and Math classes and wouldn’t have been able to figure out exactly what I wanted to do in medicine without their guidance and support. Those connections shaped my goals for the future and led me to opportunities I would have never discovered otherwise.

### Operations Research (Lakshmi)

**What is your cluster? **

Operations Research. This cluster uses courses from the Industrial Engineering & Operations Research (IEOR) department at Berkeley.

**Why did you choose it? How did you rationalize that to the department?**

I took an IEOR class with a friend and found it super interesting — essentially real world applications of math/problem-solving techniques. The cluster is listed on the math department website so I figured it was already an established cluster.

**What classes have you taken/do you plan to take?**

I’ve taken Statistics 134/135, and IEOR 166, 162, and 151. I want to take the Challenge Lab (IEOR 185) next semester

**What classes do you wish you had taken?**

I wish I took nonlinear programming; it just seems more applicable in industry than linear.

**What do you plan to do with your major post-grad?**

I want to work at the intersection of finance and technology, using math and data analytics to solve financially motivated problems.

**What do you do for fun?**

Workout a lot lmao dance run spin rock climb

**Advice to other students?**

Enjoy your classes!