SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah’s College of Engineering received approval last week for its new graduate certificate program in big data.

“We’re seeing a revolution in the availability of data. It’s easy to collect information, but processing and analyzing large stores of data is becoming increasingly difficult. We are at the point where the traditional analytical tools for attacking this problem are breaking down,” said Jeff Phillips, assistant professor of computer science and coordinator of the new program.

“Our program capitalizes on University of Utah’s strengths in computer science and big-data processing, and will provide students with the technical training needed to succeed in high-tech jobs in data analysis and management.”

Drawing on existing courses in computer science, the university’s new certificate program will provide graduate students and professional computer scientists with the skills needed to process, analyze and manage sets of large, complex data. The certificate consists of five courses in data mining, machine learning, database systems, visualization and advanced algorithms.

The courses already are taught at the U. and will include options for distance education such as online video, Internet-video office hours and classes late in the day.

The program also will include training on ethical issues associated with data management and analysis.

The U. Academic Senate approved the new big data certificate program Feb. 3. The certificate will be coordinated through the university’s School of Computing and will officially begin in fall semester 2014.