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Data mining (the analysis step of the knowledge discovery in databases process, or KDD), a relatively young and interdisciplinary field of computer science is the process of discovering new patterns from large data sets involving methods at the intersection of artificial intelligence, machine learning, statistics and database systems. The overall goal of the data mining process is to extract knowledge from a data set in a human-understandable structure and besides the raw analysis step involves database and data management aspects, data preprocessing, model and inference considerations, interestingness metrics, complexity considerations, post-processing of found structure, visualization and online updating. The actual data mining task is the automatic or semi-automatic analysis of large quantities of data to extract previously unknown interesting patterns such as groups of data records (cluster analysis), unusual records (anomaly detection) and dependencies (association rule mining). This usually involves using database techniques such as spatial indexes. These patterns can then be seen as a kind of summary of the input data, and used in further analysis or for example in machine learning and predictive analytics. For example, the data mining step might identify multiple groups in the data, which can then be used to obtain more accurate prediction results by a decision support system. Neither the data collection, data preparation nor result interpretation and reporting are part of the data mining step, but do belong to the overall KDD process as additional steps. (Excerpt from <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_mining">Wikipedia article: Data mining</a>)

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