The amount of data being collected in databases today far exceeds our ability to reduce and analyze data without the use of automated analysis techniques. Many scientific and transactional business databases grow at a phenomenal rate. A single system, the astronomical survey application SCICAT, is expected to exceed three terabytes of data at completion. Knowledge discovery in databases (KDD) is the field that is evolving to provide automated analysis solutions.
Knowledge discovery is defined as ``the non-trivial extraction of implicit, unknown, and potentially useful information from data'' In a clear distinction between data mining and knowledge discovery is drawn. Under their conventions, the knowledge discovery process takes the raw results from data mining (the process of extracting trends or patterns from data) and carefully and accurately transforms them into useful and understandable information. This information is not typically retrievable by standard techniques but is uncovered through the use of AI techniques.
KDD is a growing field: There are many knowledge discovery methodologies in use and under development. Some of these techniques are generic, while others are domain-specific. The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a literature survey outlining the state-of-the-art in KDD techniques and tools. The paper is not intended to provide an in-depth introduction to each approach; rather, we intend it to acquaint the reader with some KDD approaches and potential uses.
Machine discovery is one of the earliest fields that has contributed to KDD. While machine discovery relies solely on an autonomous approach to information discovery, KDD typically combines automated approaches with human interaction to assure accurate, useful, and understandable results.
There are many different approaches that are classified as KDD techniques. There are quantitative approaches, such as the probabilistic and statistical approaches. There are approaches that utilize visualization techniques. There are classification approaches such as Bayesian classification, inductive logic, data cleaning/pattern discovery, and decision tree analysis. Other approaches include deviation and trend analysis, genetic algorithms, neural networks, and hybrid approaches that combine two or more techniques.
Because of the ways that these techniques can be used and combined, there is a lack of agreement on how these techniques should be categorized. For example, the Bayesian approach may be logically grouped with probabilistic approaches, classification approaches, or visualization approaches. For the sake of organization, each approach described here is included in the group that it seemed to fit best. However, this selection is not intended to imply a strict categorization.
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