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WHAT IS DATA MINING?
The cost of storing and processing data has decreased dramatically in the recent past and, as a result, the amount of data stored in electronic form has grown at an explosive rate. A case in point: WalMart. The retail giant recently installed an NCR WorldMark 5100M “massively parallel processing server” and upgraded a second NCR 5100M (Chester, 1999). Together, they take Wal-Mart's data warehouse from 7.5 terabytes to more than 24 terabytes. The system collects and analyzes item information from approximately 2,900 stores to track buying trends department-by-department, shelf-by-shelf, item-by-item. It handles more than 30 applications and some 50,000 queries per week.
With the creation of large databases came the possibility of analyzing the data stored in them. The term data miningwas originally used to describe the process through which previously undiscovered patterns in data were identified. This definition has since been stretched beyond these limits to...
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