Tutorial Day at Alexandria University, 15 Dec 2018

Possible Directions for Building a Career in Data Science

by: Dr. Walid Magdy, assistant professor at The University of Edinburgh, UK

Tutorial Description

Dr. Walid Magdy, of the University of Edinburgh, is giving a tutorial on possible directions to build a career in data science. The tutorial day consists of three lectures. The first two lectures give examples on domains of research in data science, namely: Arabic NLP and computational social science. The third lecture explores the possible career paths after graduation, where it includes some advices for those interested in different career paths, such as working in industry, working in research and academia (including graduate studies), and those who are interested in running their own business.

Venue and Registration


Conference hall, third floor, main building,
the Faculty of Arts,
Alexandria Univeristy.


Saturday, 15 December, 2018. 10am to 4:00pm.


Attendance is free, but please register to this link

Lectures Topics

This Tutorial consists of the following three lectures:

Lecture 1: Arabic Language Challenges for Human Language Technologies

Research in Arabic NLP has been growing over the last two decades, leading to the development of language technologies tools for Arabic. The main focus has been for a long time on modern standard Arabic (MSA), which led to tools achieving high accuracies for basic NLP tasks, such as stemming, POS tagging, and named-entity recognition. With the recent spread of social media, a new field has emerged which is computational social science, where the objective is to study social science phenomena using computational methods by analysing big social data. This required some additional NLP tools for Arabic dialects, such as sentiment analysis, sarcasm detection, speech-act recognition, and others. In this talk, discuss the main challenges in the Arabic language and their effect on the developed NLP tools. In addition, we show the progress work on some of the tools for Arabic dialects analysis, such as POS for dialect, sentiment analysis, and speech-act recognition. We also highlight the gabs in these tools to motivate future directions.

Lecture 2: Computational Social Science: What can we learn from big Social data?

Social media is becoming a hub for most of internet users to communicate, share their thoughts, report news, and express themselves. Large amount of research started to utilize the huge amount of data from social media in many different applications. In this lecture, using social media for computational social science studies is presented to show how to learn about human behaviour, society’s trends, and political bias from the massive amount of online social data from social websites such as Twitter. Few examples are presented, such as:

  • Studying the antecedent of ISIS support on social media, and what is the background of people supporting them
  • Measuring the public response towards Muslims after Paris attacks 2015
  • Detecting and analysing fake accounts on adult social networks; and Finally
  • Exploring the nature and dynamics of social media during the US Presidential Election 2016.

Most of the work in this lecture was featured in news articles in popular press, such as BBC, CNN, Washington Post, the Independent, Aljazeera, the Daily Mail, and many others.

Lecture 3: What should I do after graduation?

This might be the most important question in the mind of many undergraduates: What happens after graduation? Some dream about having a good position in an international company, others dream of pursuing their graduate studies by getting a masters and PhD degrees, and few think about running their own business. As a current academic in one of the top 20 universities in the world, who worked earlier for international companies such as IBM and Microsoft, and tried at some point of his career to make a startup, Dr. Walid will share his experience about the different routes that a successful engineer, data scientist can take for each of these different routes. He will be trying to answer some questions such as: What should I do to be able to secure a good position in an international company? What is the requirements that I need to work on to be able to join a top university for a PhD program? What are the possible routes after getting a PhD? I feel that I have entrepreneurship skills, how should I start to have my own successful business. This lecture will have some tips (not the most optimal, but based on personal experience) on the possible directions after graduations and the important preparation even before graduation. It is expected to have many QA in this session, so get ready to ask the questions that you think many of your friends might be thinking of.

Speaker Biography

Walid Magdy is an assistant professor at the school of Informatics, the University of Edinburgh (UoE), and a faculty fellow at the Alan Turing Institute in London, UK. His main research interests include computational social science, information retrieval, data mining, and Arabic NLP. He holds his PhD from the School of Computing at Dublin City University (DCU), Ireland. He has an extensive industrial background from working earlier for IBM, Microsoft, and QCRI. Walid has over 60 peer-reviewed published articles in top tier conferences and journals. He also has a set of 9 patents filed under his name. Some of his work was featured in popular press, such as CNN, BBC, Washington Post, National Geographic, and MIT Tech reviews.
More information could be found on his Homepage.

Tutorial Day Program

  • 10:00-10:15 Introduction
  • 10:15-11:45am Lecture 1
  • 11:45-12:15pm break
  • 12:15-01:45pm Lecture 2
  • 01:45-2:00pm break
  • 2:00-3:30pm Lecture 3