Friends of Agroknow: Meet Mohammed Zuhair Al Taie

It has been quite a long time since we established a communication with Mr. Mohammed Zuhair Al Taie about the possibility of him contributing to the Agroknow blog; he would then become the first external author of the blog. Back then the blog was pretty different in terms of content and Mohammed’s post on linked and big data (being domain agnostic) helped us reach a different audience which kept growing post after post. Now his Agroknow posts have also made it into the BigDataEurope Horizon 2020 project blog as well as in other blogs, shared with a larger audience. So, it was about time that we learned more about the person behind these interesting blog posts! Let’s see what Mohammed has responded to our questions.

1) Can you tell us a few things about yourself ? What about your studies and your research interests?

I have a bachelor degree in the history and culture of Middle East countries from Baghdad University. Because I found myself more inclined towards computer programming. Hence, I joined computer science department at Al-Mustansiriya University. This is followed by a master’s degree in computer science and communication from Lebanon University. I have more than 10 years of experience working in information technology companies and a reviewer of SNAM – Social Network Analysis and Mining journal of Springer.

My research interests fall within machine learning, social networks, recommender systems, and advanced Webs technologies. Currently, I am a Ph.D. candidate at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in Malaysia where I am part of soft computing research group and UTM Big Data Centre as well.

Mohammed_Zuhair_PhD study


2) What was the thing that attracted you in big data ?

My connection to Big Data is not too old especially that the area is still in its infancy. I like to learn new things especially that everyone was talking about Big Data.

3) How do you see big data applied in addressing actual challenges at a global level? Do you have any specific examples to share?

Big Data is more promising in areas where data tends to be unstructured and is generated at a huge volume. I think that so far, it has been successful in areas like national security and business analytics. Yet, only large companies are really able to do it the right way.

4) From your perspective and experience, how could big data help the agri-food sector? Are you aware of any use cases / examples?

Much effort has been made by the food industry to ensure food safety. However, several foodborne diseases are still reported every year. Food safety can benefit from Big Data information for risk analysis, risk mitigation, healthcare mining, customer pattern monitoring, and whole genome sequencing and metagenomics. Currently, Nikos Manouselis, Giannis Stoitsis and I are working on a study that Foodakai addresses, an online application for harmonised discovery of food safety information, aggregating public sector data on foodborne disease incidents, food alerts, outbreaks, emerging risks and food product recalls.

5) You are currently among the top contributors of the Agroknow blog; how did you actually find us and what was the motivation behind the use of a blog (like the Agroknow one) for presenting your research work and interests?

This question looks difficult but actually it is very simple. The people responsible of the blog and those work in Agroknow are very nice. I wrote my first blog some time ago and it was about the disappearance of Malaysian Flight MH370. The topic was interesting but still falls outside the scope of the blog. With help from my friend Vassilis Protonotarios, we were able to move my posts towards the current interests of the blog.


6) What is your relation with social media? Do you find them applicable in science, e.g. for the dissemination of knowledge and even as datasets to be analysed for research?

The use of social media has become the main activity of people worldwide, with a total use of about %82 of the world’s internet use. One of the direct applications of social media is during disaster time where social applications and social services have been playing a vital role in disaster response and disaster recovery via the provision of response information before, during, and after a disaster.

7) Last but not least; what are your plans for the future?

It is not easy to guess about future work but I may be looking for opportunities for a postdoc position in Big Data analytics or one of its related areas. I also welcome opportunities from companies that are interested in my skills.

We would like to thank Mohammed for taking the time to respond to our questions and also for contributing to the Agroknow blog with his well-thought posts on big and linked data; we can only hope for more to come in the next months!

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