A Perspective on Databases and Data Mining

Marcel Holsheimer and Martin Kersten, CWI Database Research Group, The Netherlands; Heikki Mannila and Hannu Toivonen, University of Helsinki, Finland

We discuss the use of database methods for data mining. Recently impressive results have been achieved for some data mining problems using highly specialized and clever data structures. We study how well one can manage by using general purpose database management systems. We illustrate our ideas by investigating the use of a dbms for a well-researched area: the discovery of association rules. We present a simple algorithm, consisting of only union and intersection operations, and show that it achieves quite good performance on an efficient dbms. Our method can incorporate inheritance hierarchies to the association rule algorithm easily. We also present a technique that effectively reduces the number of database operations when searching large search spaces that contain only few interesting items. Our work shows that database techniques are promising for data mining: general architectures can achieve reasonable results.

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