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7 Examples of Data Mining

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Data mining is a diverse set of techniques for discovering patterns or knowledge in data. This usually starts with a hypothesis that is given as input to data mining tools that use statistics to discover patterns in data. Such tools typically visualize results with an interface for exploring further. The following are illustrative examples of data mining.

Artificial Intelligence

Machine learning is often based on data mining. An artificial intelligence might develop theories about its problem space and then use data mining to build confidence in the theory. For example, a self-driving car that observes a white van drive by at twice the speed limit might develop the theory that all white vans drive fast. The AI can then use a data mining technique to determine if the theory is worth maintaining.


A product development group is designing a package for a pair of running shoes. A designer has a theory that men's shoes with pink packaging tend to sell better. The team uses a data mining tool to see if this idea has any historical support.


A researcher has a well developed theory that air pollution is associated with higher incidence of dementia. The researcher builds a database with US air quality readings and the addresses of dementia patients for several states. They use a data mining tool to explore the association.

Data Dredging

Data dredging is the use of data mining techniques with a random hypothesis such that the process can be automated. This technique is criticized as it tends to result in patterns that are nothing more than random noise. In the past, data dredging has been used to produce low quality research papers whereby a researcher starts with a randomly detected pattern and builds a paper around it while omitting evidence of the paper's inherent base rate fallacy.


An educator has a theory that boys perform better in classes that are based on design and experimentation as opposed to memorization and convergent thinking. The educator explores historical results by subject and teaching method to test the theory.


A manufacturing manager develops a theory that a particular configuration of machine has been responsible for more than its fair share of downtime on a production line. She checks her incident database with a data mining tool to confirm her idea.


A farmer develops a theory that standard recommendations for the amount of water required by tomato plants is excessive. She uses a data mining tool to explore tomato yield and irrigation data.
Overview: Data Mining Examples
A diverse set of techniques for discovering patterns or knowledge in data.
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Data Mining

The definition of data mining.

Data Dredging

A brute force method of data analysis.

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An overview of the base rate fallacy with an example.

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The definition of data architecture with examples.

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