AntTrend: Stigmergetic Discovery of Spatial Trends

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Large amounts of spatially referenced data have been aggregated in various application domains such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), banking and retailing that motivate the highly demanding field of spatial data mining. So far many beneficial optimization solutions have been introduced inspired by the foraging behavior of ant colonies. In this paper a novel algorithm named AntTrend is proposed for efficient discovery of spatial trends. AntTrend applies the emergent intelligent behavior of ant colonies to handle the huge search space encountered in the discovery of this valuable knowledge. Ant agents in AntTrend share their individual experience of trend detection by exploiting the phenomenon of stigmergy. Many experiments were run on a real banking spatial database to investigate the properties of the algorithm. The results show that AntTrend has much higher efficiency both in performance of the discovery process and in the quality of patterns discovered compared to non-intelligent methods.