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APC Background

The papers provided in this section have been written by prominent specialists in the field of APC and its application to industrial processes and submitted to APC-network.com for publication. They provide the users with a background knowledge of the relevant technology. The copyright for these papers belong to the authors and any authorisation to quote or use of the contents should be addressed direcly to the authors.


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APC Background
Data Mining Beyond Algorithms
Dr Akeel Al-Attar BSc PhD CEng MIEE Chief Technical Officer – Knowledge Process Software Plc Akeel has a first class BSc degree in Electronic Engineering (1975) and a PhD in Microwave Telecommunications (1978) both from the University of Leeds. Throughout his career, Akeel has always been involved in the application of advanced technologies to solve complex business problems. Between 1978 and 1982 he was a senior engineer at the British Gas Engineering Research Station. He worked in a small team tasked with the design and development of the hardware and software of a radar for the detection of underground pipes. Akeel was the Secretary of the Gas, Electricity, Telecom, Water and Coal Industries working party on underground detection. He also took the opportunity to undergo the British Gas management training programme. In 1983, Akeel founded a software house for developing multi-lingual software. DTI funding was secured to develop a multi-lingual database and operating system for the Apple personal computer, which was adopted by Apple for their Arabic speaking market. Akeel co-founded Attar Software Limited in 1985 to develop and apply knowledge and data mining technologies. He negotiated a technology transfer agreement with Professor Donald Michie, a leading artificial intelligence expert in the UK, and successfully applied for EC funding to develop the software. Akeel has managed to grow Attar Software into a company with world class technology, a large worldwide user base and a turnover circa £1.6 million. Akeel co-founded KPS in 1997. Initially Akeel will spend approximately 50% of his time with KPS as the Chief Technical Officer. His role will be to ensure that KPS uses the best of breed knowledge technologies. He will also oversee the development of the software products and applications.

Most organisations can be currently labelled ‘data rich’ since they are collecting increasing volumes of data about business processes and resources. Typically these data mountains are used to provide endless ‘facts and figures’ such are ’there are 60 categories of occupation’, ‘2000 mortgage accounts are in arrears’ etc. Such ‘facts and figures’ do not represent knowledge but if anything can lead to ‘information overload’. However, patterns in the data represent knowledge and most organisations nowadays can be labelled ‘knowledge poor’. Our definition of data mining is the process of discovering knowledge from data.Data mining enables complex business processes to be understood and re-engineered. This can be achieved through the discovery of patterns in data relating to the past behaviour of a business process. Such patterns can be used to improve the performance of a process by exploiting favourable patterns and avoiding problematic patterns. Examples of business processes where data mining can be useful are customer response to mailing, lapsed insurance policies and energy consumption. In each of these examples, data mining can reveal what factors affect the outcome of the business event or process and the patterns relating the outcome to these factors. Such patterns increase our understanding of these processes and therefore our ability to predict and affect the outcome.

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