Establishing a Center of Excellence for Data Mining

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Establishing a Center of Excellence for Data Mining in Egypt By: Aref Rashad

I- Introduction
The convergence of computer resources connected via a global network has created an information tool of unprecedented power, a tool in its infancy. The global network is awash with data, uncoordinated, unexplored, but potentially containing information and knowledge of immense economic and technical significance. It is the role of data mining technologies arising from many discipline areas to convert that data into information and knowledge. It is our premise therefore that data mining technologies lie at the heart of the information revolution providing the mechanism for creating information and knowledge. These we contend are the commodities that increasingly are driving regional, national and global economies.

Data mining is characterized generally by the exploration and exploitation of large collections of opportunistically collected data whose internal structure is unknown and unmodeled a priori. Data set size and complexity are usually key parameters in data mining. Data quality and algorithmic complexity are concomitants that impact upon the success of data mining efforts.

Conventional methods are usually quite successful with tiny or small data sets. Analysis in these regimes usually focuses on statistical optimality, extracting maximal information from each observation. Medium to large data sets begin to severely tax traditional methodologies.

Computer modeling is the use of computers to create abstract models of real life objects, organizations, situations, or systems. A computer model is dynamic in nature and it helps to examine the behavior of the system under study in order to analyze and enhance its performance.

The data mining and data modeling field is an arena with major economic and scientific impact on Egypt. The potential impact is both short term, because the proposed center is in effect a meta center bringing together groups already doing work in the area which are able to rapidly respond both individually and jointly to short-term needs, and also long term, because the research agenda is clearly driven by deep scientific issues which as they are addressed will position the economy of Egypt to become a national and global leader in the area.

II- Centre of Excellence Concept and Strategy
A- Prelude
Admitting that: "where there is a need, there is a market" and that "survival is for the fittest", this chapter starts with a brief identification concerning the "need" for initiating the subject CoE, including: (i) market challenges, which create market needs that exhibit the unique opportunity of establishing an entity/CoE capable of satisfying essential needs, (ii) degree of CoE's "fitness" to capture such opportunity, which depends mainly on boosting its "competitive strength" and on the "strategic orientation" of such strength towards opportunities exhibiting high "market attractiveness", and (iii) CoE's strength as the resultant of potential contributions by "Potentiators" (viz., the stakeholders of the subject research Mission). On these bases, this chapter proceeds to identify: (a)- the CoE's environmental constraints or the "External trends and conditions" from which research funding can be attained, (b)- our "vision" for the CoE is presented which paves the way for a logical derivation of (c)-the "Mission Statement". Then, it concludes with the identification of the attributes sufficient for accomplishing the subject Mission.

Market Challenges
For their own survival, all developing countries have suddenly realized their essential need to face, without any delay, many challenges. In what follows practical examples are cited to stress the pressing need to initiate a network of IT-based centers-of-excellence emanating from the subject CoE, in serving the best interest of the Egyptian economy.

1- The acceleration with which market changes are occurring. A good example is that...
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