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Setting up a centre of expertise on intelligent data analysis

Gert Jacobusse, NFI 

Within the NFI (Netherlands Forensic Institute), the knowledge and expertise centre for intelligent data analysis (Kecida) is being set up. The mission of this centre is to advise government agencies in choosing software, methods and techniques for intelligent data analysis. Complementary to that, the centre aims to support the implementation of processes for analysing and merging large amounts of digitally stored data.  

Without working together, the scale of individual agencies is often too small to efficiently organise the required capacity and facilities to build knowledge. Also, many efforts are carried out multiple times by separate individual agencies. It is expected that the centre will increase the knowledge about intelligent data analysis within the Dutch government, by taking initiative and providing opportunities to let agencies combine their efforts to build knowledge. The centre already initiated several activities to achieve its aims. Diverse methods, techniques and software products that may help to analyse data in the battle against criminality, fraud and terrorism are closely followed by studying literature, searching the Internet, inviting software suppliers, and consulting experts from universities. To follow up on that, some of the techniques and software products are being tested in “learning, discovery- and evaluation” trajectories together with other government agencies who want to explore the techniques. 

One of the first challenges during the actual testing of methods with real data is the need for a safe environment with powerful computers, knowledgeable and trusted employees, and state-of-the-art analysis tools. To avoid interference with the operational environment, we supply a dedicated computer environment for pilot projects. 

Finally, the knowledge about the techniques is shared with the government agencies that need it. This is done in different ways. A minimal option is to establish contact between the agency and a software supplier, or between the agency and an expert from university. Another option is to cooperate with a software supplier to provide demonstrations or software training to people from different agencies at once. Apart from the benefit of more efficient organisation, an additional benefit is that people from different agencies who use the same techniques are brought together. 

Knowledge is also shared by applying and advancing it in co-operational pilot projects. The most active option is to directly exploit the knowledge that is built up within the centre. This is done in two ways: first by gathering the knowledge in a database that can be shared with other agencies. Second by inviting people to visit presentations and software demonstrations in which the results of pilot projects are spelled out. 

After less than one year it is already clear that the awareness of the need for a knowledge and expertise centre is broadly shared among people from government agencies that work on intelligent data analysis. 



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