An interview with Edith Ohri ,a pioneer in Data Mining from Israel, one of the technologically and educationally advanced countries in Asia.
1) Tell us how you came in this field of work, and what factors made you succeed.
My introduction to data mining was at work right after my MS degree. The CEO of the company asked the IE department to organize the many small customer orders in groups that "make sense" for production, in a remote plant which the company had just opened. At the time, there was no solution available for this request. Whoever got the job was destined to months of laborious work. As a new comer I was assigned that unpopular job. Being new at that place, my problem with it was even greater: I had no knowledge about the production preferences and practices and could not had guessed what to assume and where to focus. This lack of expertise and inability to rely on expert knowledge or past conventions was as things turned out the key for success, as it forced me to rely on objective analysis alone.
2) Most challenging and fun project you ever did (anonymous details).
Every project is fun for me. It is always challenging to crack new complex data especially if previous analysis attempts have little results. In almost every project there is a surprising and interesting twist. I find it every time again very rewarding to discover hidden facts and then rationalize them with the client. Currently I’m working on an extremely large data set that requires farther software development. For me is
like being in a suspense movie, watching it unfolding and gradually falling into place(s). Maybe this last one is the most challenging and fun and… fresh (impressions fade in time)
3) What’s the latest trend you see in data mining over the next year and next three to five years?
My guess about the evolution of data mining is that (a) it will have yet another name after exhausting the term BI; (b) the emphasis will shift to stream data interpretation; (c) Software-as-a-Service will become the preferred choice rather than built in inflexible solutions; and (d) there will be new ventures (hopefully my own) in the area of old data "dump" recycling, i.e. putting old data to use.
4) Advice to fresh college graduates wanting to join data mining as a career.
Data mining is a very difficult field as its theory to my humble opinion is still far from being established. Therefore my advice for students is to be inquisitive, never take a solution model for granted, do not compromise, and remember – it is important particularly in this field – to always see the big picture beyond your client’s requests.
5) Would you like to visit India for work/travel?
A friend of mine had a beautiful vacation in India. I hope to have the opportunity to travel there too.
Edith Ohri heads a pioneering data-mining company which is dedicated to the application of GT – a new DM solution for unsupervised and complex data. Her background is Industrial & Management Engineering, MSc. She had started researching the issue of data mining in the early 80’s, and has continued with it ever since. She created a new model (GT) which enables larger and more complex data analysis. In 2002 she started in SMU Singapore the development of GT software. She is involved in several areas of implementation, such as: BI, Quality Control, Bio-med and Research. She manages a DM forums with Israel Engineering Association and a DM forum with the Data Warehouse site (Israel). She is a member and active participant in a number of DM forums, give presentations, and write articles.
Note- Edith Ohri is a good friend and pen pal but is not related to Ajay Ohri (www.decisionstats.com). Correlation is not causation.