The American University in Cairo (AUC) announced about a new undergraduate data science program, the first-of-its-kind in Egypt and the Arab world, to start in September 2019, leading to a Bachelor of Science in data science.
“For the School of Sciences and Engineering and AUC, this is yet another frontier in our next century of service to Egypt and the MENA region, and where our educators, researchers and students are the pioneers laying a future of advancement for the region and the globe,” said Hassan El-Fawal, AUC’s dean of the School of Sciences and Engineering.
On his part, Ali Hadi, distinguished University professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics and Actuarial Science at AUC stated: “Data science is also known as data mining.. It is the link between the mine, or the available data, and the decision makers. Whenever you have data, you need a data scientist, just like corporations need accountants to prepare their financial statements” to extract the data from the mine and transform it into useful knowledge in any field”.
Data science is the study of generalized extraction of knowledge from data, according to Hadi, who founded AUC’s actuarial science program in 2004. “The message you receive on your phone whenever you arrive at a certain country is some sort of data that is being extracted by a data scientist.”
An official statement by the university considered data science as a rapidly growing field due to the availability of huge and complex real-world data. It added that it is a new interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary field. Thus, being a data scientist requires an integrated skill set spanning mathematics, probability, statistics, machine learning, computational science and programming languages (such as R and Python) as well as a good understanding of some real-world problem formulation and effective solutions.
According to the statement, a data scientist is a professional who is able to collect and analyze the different types and sizes of data, which come in big volumes, in a very timely and accurate manner, while analyzing it and solving the problems associated with it. This 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.
“Data is like a mine, and the knowledge contained in the data is like the rich minerals of the mine,” Hadi explained. “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.”