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MINING the FUTURE

By Nahla El Gendy

Data science is a new major at AUC — the first of its kind in Egypt and the Arab world

The first of its kind in Egypt and the Arab world, AUC’s undergraduate data science program began in Fall 2019, leading to a Bachelor of Science in data science.

“The advancement of computers and communication technologies has given rise to the availability of massive and complex data from the real world,” said Ali Hadi, distinguished University professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics and Actuarial science. “Datasets contain a wealth of knowledge. Data science is the science of extracting knowledge from data.”

Data science is a new interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary field. Being a data scientist requires an integrated skill set spanning mathematics, probability, statistics, machine learning, computational science and programming languages, as well as a good understanding of some real-world problem formulation and effective solutions.

A data scientist is a professional who is able to collect the different types and sizes of data — which come in big volumes — in a timely and accurate manner, while analyzing this data, solving the problems associated with it and transforming it into useful knowledge. decision makers then use this knowledge to make evidence-based scientific decisions. “In that way, data scientists can be thought of as the link or liaison between the data and decision makers in different fields,” said Hadi.

Data science applies to almost every entity in various fields, including national and multinational communication and information technology companies, banks and other financial institutions, and investment companies. it is a rapidly growing field due to the availability of huge and complex real-world data. According to the 2019 CareerCast Jobs rated report, a data scientist is ranked as the top job in the United States in terms of salary, work environment, stress and growth. Linkedin also ranked a data scientist as the Most Promising Job in the United States in 2019.

“Data science is also known as data mining,” said Hadi. “Data is like a mine, and the knowledge contained in the data is like the rich minerals of the mine. Failure to retrieve and make sense of the data is like leaving a mine unexplored or misidentifying a diamond for a piece of coal — hence the term data mining, which preceded the term data science.”

The data science program at AUC is a joint venture between the Department of Mathematics and Actuarial science and the department of Computer science and Engineering. “What distinguishes our data science major is AUC’s liberal arts program, which is required by all students in all majors,” said Hadi. “This enables us to produce well-rounded graduates in the field.”

“Data science is the major of the future,” said iman Yehia, computer science junior who took the Fundamentals of Data Science course taught by Hadi. “If you study it, you can easily change the world. to me, data science is a mindset.”

Freshman Mahmoud Waly, another student in the course, also noted, “As this course was the first of its kind, I didn’t know what to expect, but to say the least, I enjoyed every class I attended.”

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