Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 137–166 | Cite as

A Model-Based Frequency Constraint for Mining Associations from Transaction Data

  • Michael Hahsler


Mining frequent itemsets is a popular method for finding associated items in databases. For this method, support, the co-occurrence frequency of the items which form an association, is used as the primary indicator of the associations's significance. A single, user-specified support threshold is used to decided if associations should be further investigated. Support has some known problems with rare items, favors shorter itemsets and sometimes produces misleading associations.

In this paper we develop a novel model-based frequency constraint as an alternative to a single, user-specified minimum support. The constraint utilizes knowledge of the process generating transaction data by applying a simple stochastic mixture model (the NB model) which allows for transaction data's typically highly skewed item frequency distribution. A user-specified precision threshold is used together with the model to find local frequency thresholds for groups of itemsets. Based on the constraint we develop the notion of NB-frequent itemsets and adapt a mining algorithm to find all NB-frequent itemsets in a database. In experiments with publicly available transaction databases we show that the new constraint provides improvements over a single minimum support threshold and that the precision threshold is more robust and easier to set and interpret by the user.


Data mining associations interest measures mixture models transaction data 


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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vienna University of Economics and Business AdministrationViennaAustria

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