Data mining

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Data mining is the process of extracting hidden patterns from large amounts of data. As more data is gathered, with the amount of data doubling every three years,[1] data mining is becoming an increasingly important tool to transform this data into information. It is commonly used in a wide range of profiling practices, such as marketing, surveillance, fraud detection and scientific discovery.

While data mining can be used to uncover hidden patterns in data samples that have been "mined", it is important to be aware that the use of a sample of the data may produce results that are not indicative of the domain. Data mining will not uncover patterns that are present in the domain, but not in the sample. There is a tendency for insufficiently knowledgable "consumers" of the results to treat the technique as a sort of crystal ball and attribute "magical thinking" to it. Like any other tool, it only functions in conjunction with the appropriate raw material: in this case, indicative and representative data that the user must first collect. Further, the discovery of a particular pattern in a particular set of data does not necessarily mean that pattern is representative of the whole population from which that data was drawn. Hence, an important part of the process is the verification and validation of patterns on other samples of data.

The term data mining has also been used in a related but negative sense, to mean the deliberate searching for apparent but not necessarily representative patterns in large amounts of data. To avoid confusion with the other sense, the terms data dredging and data snooping are often used. Note, however, that dredging and snooping can be (and sometimes are) used as exploratory tools when developing and clarifying hypotheses.


[edit] Background

Humans have been "manually" extracting information from data for centuries, but the increasing volume of data in modern times has called for more automatic approaches. As data sets and the information extracted from them has grown in size and complexity, direct hands-on data analysis has increasingly been supplemented and augmented with indirect, automatic data processing using more complex and sophisticated tools, methods and models. The proliferation, ubiquity and increasing power of computer technology has aided data collection, processing, management and storage. However, the captured data needs to be converted into information and knowledge to become useful. Data mining is the process of using computing power to apply methodologies, including new techniques for knowledge discovery, to data.[2]

Data mining identifies trends within data that go beyond simple data analysis. Through the use of sophisticated algorithms, non-statistician users have the opportunity to identify key attributes of processes and target opportunities. However, abdicating control and understanding of processes from statisticians to poorly informed or uninformed users can result in false-positives, no useful results, and worst of all, results that are misleading and/or misinterpreted.

Although data mining is a relatively new term, the technology is not. For many years, businesses and governments have used increasingly powerful computers to sift through volumes of data such as airline passenger trip records, census data and supermarket scanner data to produce market research reports. (Note, however, that reporting is not always considered to be data mining). Continuous innovations in computer processing power, disk storage, data capture technology, algorithms, methodologies and analysis software have dramatically increased the accuracy and usefulness of the extracted information.

The term data mining is often used to apply to the two separate processes of knowledge discovery and prediction. Knowledge discovery provides explicit information about the characteristics of the collected data, using a number of techniques (e.g., association rule mining). Forecasting and predictive modeling provide predictions of future events, and the processes may range from the transparent (e.g., rule-based approaches) through to the opaque (e.g., neural networks).

Metadata, (data about the characteristics of a data set), are often expressed in a condensed data-minable format, or one that facilitates the practice of data mining. Common examples include executive summaries and scientific abstracts.

Data mining is usually performed on "real-world data". Such data are vulnerable to collinearity because of unknown and possibly unobserved interrelations. An unavoidable fact of data mining is that the (sub-)set of data being analysed may not be representative of the whole domain, and therefore may not contain examples of certain critical relationships that exist across other parts of the domain. Alternative methods using experiment-based approaches, such as Choice Modelling for human-generated data, may be used to address this sort of issue. In these situations, inherent correlations can be either controlled for or removed altogether during the construction of the experimental design.

There have been some efforts to define standards for data mining, for example the 1999 European Cross Industry Standard Process for Data Mining (CRISP-DM 1.0) and the 2004 Java Data Mining standard (JDM 1.0). These are evolving standards; later versions of these standards are under development. Independent of these standardization efforts, freely available open-source software systems like RapidMiner, Weka, KNIME, and the R Project have become an informal standard for defining data-mining processes. Most of these systems are able to import and export models in PMML (Predictive Model Markup Language) which provides a standard way to represent data mining models so that these can be shared between different statistical applications. PMML is an XML-based language developed by the Data Mining Group (DMG), an independent group composed of many data mining companies. The latest version of PMML, version 4.0 is scheduled to be released in early 2009.[citation needed]

Since the availability of affordable computer processing power in the last quarter of the 20th century, organizations have been accumulating vast and ever growing amounts of data, including, for example:

  • operational and transactional data, such as sales, cost, inventory, payroll and accounting data
  • nonoperational data, such as forecasts and macro economic data
  • meta data — data about the data itself, such as logical database design and data dictionary definitions

This article outlines the longitudinal changes of DMKD research activities during the last decade by surveying a large collection of Data Mining literature to provide a comprehensive picture of current DMKD research and classify these research activities into high-level categories.[3]

[edit] The process of data mining

Knowledge Discovery in Databases (KDD) is the name coined by Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro in 1989 to describe the process of finding interesting, interpreted, useful and novel data. There are many nuances to this process, but roughly the steps are to preprocess raw data, mine the data, and interpret the results.[4]

[edit] Pre-processing

Once the objective for the KDD process is known, a target data set must be assembled. As data mining can only uncover patterns already present in the data, the target dataset must be large enough to contain these patterns while remaining concise enough to be mined in an acceptable timeframe. A common source for data is a datamart or data warehouse.

The target set is then cleaned. Cleaning removes the observations with noise and missing data.

The clean data is reduced into feature vectors, one vector per observation. A feature vector is a summarized version of the raw data observation. For example, a black and white image of a face which is 100px by 100px would contain 10,000 bits of raw data. This might be turned into a feature vector by locating the eyes and mouth in the image. Doing so would reduce the data for each vector from 10,000 bits to three codes for the locations, dramatically reducing the size of the dataset to be mined, and hence reducing the processing effort. The feature(s) selected will depend on what the objective(s) is/are; obviously, selecting the "right" feature(s) is fundamental to successful data mining.

The feature vectors are divided into two sets, the "training set" and the "test set". The training set is used to "train" the data mining algorithm(s), while the test set is used to verify the accuracy of any patterns found.

[edit] Data mining

Data mining commonly involves four classes of task:[4]

  • Classification - Arranges the data into predefined groups. For example an email program might attempt to classify an email as legitimate or spam. Common algorithms include Nearest neighbor, Naive Bayes classifier and Neural network.
  • Clustering - Is like classification but the groups are not predefined, so the algorithm will try to group similar items together.
  • Regression - Attempts to find a function which models the data with the least error. A common method is to use Genetic Programming.
  • Association rule learning - Searches for relationships between variables. For example a supermarket might gather data of what each customer buys. Using association rule learning, the supermarket can work out what products are frequently bought together, which is useful for marketing purposes. This is sometimes referred to as "market basket analysis".

[edit] Interpreting the results

The final step of knowledge discovery from data is to evaluate the patterns produced by the datamining algorithms. Not all patterns found by the datamining algorithms are necessarily valid. It is common for the datamining algorithms to find patterns in the training set which are not present in the general data set, this is called overfitting. To overcome this, the evaluation uses a "test set" of data which the datamining algorithm was not trained on. The learnt patterns are applied to this "test set" and the resulting output is compared to the desired output. For example, a datamining algorithm trying to distinguish spam from legitimate emails would be trained on a "training set" of sample emails. Once trained, the learnt patterns would be applied to the "test set" of emails which it had not been trained on, the accuracy of these patterns can then be measured from how many emails they correctly classify. A number of statistical methods may be used to evaluate the algorithm such as ROC curves.

If the learnt patterns do not meet the desired standards, then it is necessary to reevaluate and change the preprocessing and datamining. If the learnt patterns do meet the desired standards then the final step is to interpret the learnt patterns and turn them into knowledge.

[edit] Notable uses of data mining

[edit] Surveillance

Previous data mining to stop terrorist programs under the U.S. government include the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program, Computer-Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS II), Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight, Semantic Enhancement (ADVISE[5]), Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX), and the Secure Flight program.[6] These programs have been discontinued due to controversy over whether they violate the US Constitution's 4th amendment, although many programs that were formed under them continue to be funded by different organizations, or under different names.[7]

Two plausible data mining techniques in the context of combating terrorism include "pattern mining" and "subject-based data mining".

[edit] Pattern mining

"Pattern mining" is a data mining technique that involves finding existing patterns in data. In this context patterns often means association rules. The original motivation for searching association rules came from the desire to analyze supermarket transaction data, that is, to examine customer behaviour in terms of the purchased products. For example, an association rule "beer => crisps (80%)" states that four out of five customers that bought beer also bought crisps.

In the context of pattern mining as a tool to identify terrorist activity, the National Research Council provides the following definition: "Pattern-based data mining looks for patterns (including anomalous data patterns) that might be associated with terrorist activity — these patterns might be regarded as small signals in a large ocean of noise."[8][9][10] Pattern Mining includes new areas such a Music Information Retrieval (MIR) where patterns seen both in the temporal and non temporal domains are imported to classical knowledge discovery search techniques.

[edit] Subject-based data mining

"Subject-based data mining" is a data mining technique involving the search for associations between individuals in data. In the context of combatting terrorism, the National Research Council provides the following definition: "Subject-based data mining uses an initiating individual or other datum that is considered, based on other information, to be of high interest, and the goal is to determine what other persons or financial transactions or movements, etc., are related to that initiating datum."[9]

[edit] Games

Since the early 1960s, with the availability of oracles for certain combinatorial games, also called tablebases (e.g. for 3x3-chess) with any beginning configuration, small-board dots-and-boxes, small-board-hex, and certain endgames in chess, dots-and-boxes, and hex; a new area for data mining has been opened up. This is the extraction of human-usable strategies from these oracles. Current pattern recognition approaches do not seem to fully have the required high level of abstraction in order to be applied successfully. Instead, extensive experimentation with the tablebases, combined with an intensive study of tablebase-answers to well designed problems and with knowledge of prior art, i.e. pre-tablebase knowledge, is used to yield insightful patterns. Berlekamp in dots-and-boxes etc. and John Nunn in chess endgames are notable examples of researchers doing this work, though they were not and are not involved in tablebase generation.

[edit] Business

Data mining in customer relationship management applications can contribute significantly to the bottom line.[citation needed] Rather than randomly contacting a prospect or customer through a call center or sending mail, a company can concentrate its efforts on prospects that are predicted to have a high likelihood of responding to an offer. More sophisticated methods may be used to optimize resources across campaigns so that one may predict which channel and which offer an individual is most likely to respond to — across all potential offers. Finally, in cases where many people will take an action without an offer, uplift modeling can be used to determine which people will have the greatest increase in responding if given an offer. Data clustering can also be used to automatically discover the segments or groups within a customer data set.

Businesses employing data mining may see a return on investment, but also they recognize that the number of predictive models can quickly become very large. Rather than one model to predict which customers will churn, a business could build a separate model for each region and customer type. Then instead of sending an offer to all people that are likely to churn, it may only want to send offers to customers that will likely take to offer. And finally, it may also want to determine which customers are going to be profitable over a window of time and only send the offers to those that are likely to be profitable. In order to maintain this quantity of models, they need to manage model versions and move to automated data mining.

Data mining can also be helpful to human-resources departments in identifying the characteristics of their most successful employees. Information obtained, such as universities attended by highly successful employees, can help HR focus recruiting efforts accordingly. Additionally, Strategic Enterprise Management applications help a company translate corporate-level goals, such as profit and margin share targets, into operational decisions, such as production plans and workforce levels.[11]

Another example of data mining, often called the market basket analysis, relates to its use in retail sales. If a clothing store records the purchases of customers, a data-mining system could identify those customers who favour silk shirts over cotton ones. Although some explanations of relationships may be difficult, taking advantage of it is easier. The example deals with association rules within transaction-based data. Not all data are transaction based and logical or inexact rules may also be present within a database. In a manufacturing application, an inexact rule may state that 73% of products which have a specific defect or problem will develop a secondary problem within the next six months.

Market basket analysis has also been used to identify the purchase patterns of the Alpha consumer. Alpha Consumers are people that play a key roles in connecting with the concept behind a product, then adopting that product, and finally validating it for the rest of society. Analyzing the data collected on these type of users has allowed companies to predict future buying trends and forecast supply demands.

Data Mining is a highly effective tool in the catalog marketing industry. Catalogers have a rich history of customer transactions on millions of customers dating back several years. Data mining tools can identify patterns among customers and help identify the most likely customers to respond to upcoming mailing campaigns.

Related to an integrated-circuit production line, an example of data mining is described in the paper "Mining IC Test Data to Optimize VLSI Testing."[12] In this paper the application of data mining and decision analysis to the problem of die-level functional test is described. Experiments mentioned in this paper demonstrate the ability of applying a system of mining historical die-test data to create a probabilistic model of patterns of die failure which are then utilized to decide in real time which die to test next and when to stop testing. This system has been shown, based on experiments with historical test data, to have the potential to improve profits on mature IC products.

Given below is a list of the top eight data-mining software vendors in 2008 published in a Gartner study.[13]

[edit] Science and engineering

In recent years, data mining has been widely used in area of science and engineering, such as bioinformatics, genetics, medicine, education and electrical power engineering.

In the area of study on human genetics, the important goal is to understand the mapping relationship between the inter-individual variation in human DNA sequences and variability in disease susceptibility. In lay terms, it is to find out how the changes in an individual's DNA sequence affect the risk of developing common diseases such as cancer. This is very important to help improve the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of the diseases. The data mining technique that is used to perform this task is known as multifactor dimensionality reduction.[14]

In the area of electrical power engineering, data mining techniques have been widely used for condition monitoring of high voltage electrical equipment. The purpose of condition monitoring is to obtain valuable information on the insulation's health status of the equipment. Data clustering such as self-organizing map (SOM) has been applied on the vibration monitoring and analysis of transformer on-load tap-changers(OLTCS). Using vibration monitoring, it can be observed that each tap change operation generates a signal that contains information about the condition of the tap changer contacts and the drive mechanisms. Obviously, different tap positions will generate different signals. However, there was considerable variability amongst normal condition signals for the exact same tap position. SOM has been applied to detect abnormal conditions and to estimate the nature of the abnormalities.[15]

Data mining techniques have also been applied for dissolved gas analysis (DGA) on power transformers. DGA, as a diagnostics for power transformer, has been available for many years. Data mining techniques such as SOM has been applied to analyse data and to determine trends which are not obvious to the standard DGA ratio techniques such as Duval Triangle.[15]

A fourth area of application for data mining in science/engineering is within educational research, where data mining has been used to study the factors leading students to choose to engage in behaviors which reduce their learning[16] and to understand the factors influencing university student retention.[17]. A similar example of the social application of data mining its is use in expertise finding systems, whereby descriptors of human expertise are extracted, normalized and classified so as to facilitate the finding of experts, particularly in scientific and technical fields. In this way, data mining can facilitate Institutional memory.

Other examples of applying data mining technique applications are biomedical data facilitated by domain ontologies,[18] mining clinical trial data,[19] traffic analysis using SOM,[20] et cetera.

In adverse drug reaction surveillance, the Uppsala Monitoring Centre has, since 1998, used data mining methods to routinely screen for reporting patterns indicative of emerging drug safety issues in the WHO global database of 4.6 million suspected adverse drug reaction incidents[21]. Recently, similar methodology has been developed to mine large collections of electronic health records for temporal patterns associating drug prescriptions to medical diagnoses[22].

[edit] Privacy concerns and ethics

Some people believe that data mining itself is ethically neutral.[23] However, the way that data mining is used can raise ethical questions regarding privacy, legality, and ethics.[24] In particular, data mining government or commercial data sets for national security or law enforcement purposes, such as in the Total Information Awareness Program or in ADVISE, has raised privacy concerns.[25][26]

Datamining can uncover information or patterns which may compromise confidentiality and privacy obligations. A common way for this to occur is through data aggregation. Data aggregation is when the data which has been mined, possibly from various sources, has been put together so that it can be analyzed.[27] The threat to an individual's privacy comes into play when the data, once compiled, causes the data miner to be able to identify specific individuals, especially when originally the data was anonymous.

It is recommended that an individual is made aware of the following before data is collected:

  • the purpose of the data collection and any data mining projects,
  • how the data will be used,
  • who will be able to mine the data and use it,
  • the security surrounding access to the data, and in addition,
  • how collected data can be updated.[27]

One may additionally modify the data so that it is anonymous, so that individuals may not be readily identified.[27]

[edit] See also

Data mining is about analysing data; for information about extracting information out of data, see:

[edit] References

  1. ^ Lyman, Peter; Hal R. Varian (2003). "How Much Information". Retrieved on 2008-12-17. 
  2. ^ Kantardzic, Mehmed (2003). Data Mining: Concepts, Models, Methods, and Algorithms. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471228524. OCLC 50055336. 
  3. ^ Y. Peng, G. Kou, Y. Shi, Z. Chen (2008). "A Descriptive Framework for the Field of Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery". International Journal of Information Technology and Decision Making, Volume 7, Issue 4: 639 – 682. 
  4. ^ a b Fayyad, Usama; Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro, and Padhraic Smyth (1996). "From Data Mining to Knowledge Discovery in Databases". Retrieved on 2008-12-17. 
  5. ^ Government Accountability Office, Data Mining: Early Attention to Privacy in Developing a Key DHS Program Could Reduce Risks, GAO-07-293, Washington, D.C.: February 2007.
  6. ^ Secure Flight Program report, MSNBC.
  7. ^ "Total/Terrorism Information Awareness (TIA): Is It Truly Dead?" (in English). Electronic Frontier Foundation (official website). 2003. Retrieved on 2009-03-15. 
  8. ^ R. Agrawal et al., Fast discovery of association rules, in Advances in knowledge discovery and data mining pp. 307-328, MIT Press, 1996.
  9. ^ a b National Research Council, Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists: A Framework for Program Assessment, Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2008.
  10. ^ Stephen Haag et al. (2006). Management Information Systems for the information age. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson. pp. 28. ISBN 0-07-095569-7. OCLC 63194770. 
  11. ^ Ellen Monk, Bret Wagner (2006). Concepts in Enterprise Resource Planning, Second Edition. Thomson Course Technology, Boston, MA. ISBN 0-619-21663-8. OCLC 224465825. 
  12. ^ Tony Fountain, Thomas Dietterich & Bill Sudyka (2000) Mining IC Test Data to Optimize VLSI Testing, in Proceedings of the Sixth ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery & Data Mining. (pp. 18-25). ACM Press.
  13. ^ Gareth Herschel (1 July 2008) Magic Quadrant for Customer Data-Mining Applications, Gartner Inc.
  14. ^ Xingquan Zhu, Ian Davidson (2007). Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining: Challenges and Realities. Hershey, New Your. pp. 18. ISBN 978-159904252-7. 
  15. ^ a b A.J. McGrail, E. Gulski et al.. "Data Mining Techniques to Asses the Condition of High Voltage Electrical Plant". CIGRE WG 15.11 of Study Committee 15. 
  16. ^ R. Baker. "Is Gaming the System State-or-Trait? Educational Data Mining Through the Multi-Contextual Application of a Validated Behavioral Model". Workshop on Data Mining for User Modeling 2007. 
  17. ^ J.F. Superby, J-P. Vandamme, N. Meskens. "Determination of factors influencing the achievement of the first-year university students using data mining methods". Workshop on Educational Data Mining 2006. 
  18. ^ Xingquan Zhu, Ian Davidson (2007). Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining: Challenges and Realities. Hershey, New York. pp. 163–189. ISBN 978-159904252-7. 
  19. ^ ibid. pp. 31–48.
  20. ^ Yudong Chen, Yi Zhang, Jianming Hu, Xiang Li. "Traffic Data Analysis Using Kernel PCA and Self-Organizing Map". Intelligent Vehicles Symposium, 2006 IEEE. 
  21. ^ Bate A, Lindquist M, Edwards IR, Olsson S, Orre R, Lansner A, De Freitas RM. A Bayesian neural network method for adverse drug reaction signal generation. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1998 Jun;54(4):315-21.
  22. ^ Norén GN, Bate A, Hopstadius J, Star K, Edwards IR. Temporal Pattern Discovery for Trends and Transient Effects: Its Application to Patient Records. Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining SIGKDD 2008, pages 963-971. Las Vegas NV, 2008.
  23. ^ William Seltzer. The Promise and Pitfalls of Data Mining: Ethical Issues. 
  24. ^ Chip Pitts (March 15, 2007). "The End of Illegal Domestic Spying? Don't Count on It". Washington Spectator. 
  25. ^ K.A. Taipale (December 15, 2003). "Data Mining and Domestic Security: Connecting the Dots to Make Sense of Data". Columbia Science and Technology Law Review 5 (2). SSRN 546782 / OCLC 45263753. 
  26. ^ John Resig, Ankur Teredesai (2004). "A Framework for Mining Instant Messaging Services". in Proceedings of the 2004 SIAM DM Conference. 
  27. ^ a b c Think Before You Dig: Privacy Implications of Data Mining & Aggregation, NASCIO Research Brief, September 2004.

[edit] Further reading

  • Wang, X.Z.; Medasani, S.; Marhoon, F; Al-Bazzaz, H. (2004) Multidimensional visualisation of principal component scores for process historical data analysis. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 43(22), pp.7036-7048.
  • Wang, X.Z. (1999) Data mining and knowledge discovery for process monitoring and control. Springer, London.
  • Peter Cabena, Pablo Hadjnian, Rolf Stadler, Jaap Verhees, Alessandro Zanasi, Discovering Data Mining: From Concept to Implementation (1997), Prentice Hall, ISBN 0137439806.
  • Ronen Feldman and James Sanger, The Text Mining Handbook, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521836579.
  • Phiroz Bhagat, Pattern Recognition in Industry, Elsevier, ISBN 0-08-044538-1.
  • Ian Witten and Eibe Frank, Data Mining: Practical Machine Learning Tools and Techniques with Java Implementations (2000), ISBN 1-55860-552-5. (See also Free Weka software.)
  • Mark F. Hornick, Erik Marcade, Sunil Venkayala: "Java Data Mining: Strategy, Standard, and Practice: A Practical Guide for Architecture, Design, And Implementation" (Broché).
  • Weiss and Indurkhya, Predictive Data Mining, Morgan Kaufman.
  • Yike Guo and Robert Grossman, editors: High Performance Data Mining: Scaling Algorithms, Applications and Systems, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1999.
  • Trevor Hastie, Robert Tibshirani and Jerome Friedman (2001). The Elements of Statistical Learning, Springer. ISBN 0387952845. (Companion book site.)
  • Pascal Poncelet, Florent Masseglia and Maguelonne Teisseire (Editors). Data Mining Patterns: New Methods and Applications , Information Science Reference, ISBN 978-1599041629, (October 2007).
  • Ingo Mierswa, Michael Wurst, Ralf Klinkenberg, Martin Scholz and Timm Euler: YALE: Rapid Prototyping for Complex Data Mining Tasks, in Proceedings of the 12th ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD-06), 2006.
  • Peng, Y., Kou, G., Shi, Y. and Chen, Z. A Descriptive Framework for the Field of Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery([1].), International Journal of Information Technology and Decision Making, Vol. 7, Issue: 4, Page 639 – 682, 2008.

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