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Oracle® Data Mining Concepts
12c Release 1 (12.1)

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2 Introduction to Oracle Data Mining

This chapter introduces Oracle Data Mining and describes its place within Oracle Database. This chapter contains these topics:

About Oracle Data Mining

Oracle Data Mining provides a powerful, state-of-the-art data mining capability within Oracle Database. You can use Oracle Data Mining to build and deploy predictive and descriptive data mining applications, to add intelligent capabilities to existing applications, and to generate predictive queries for data exploration.

Oracle Data Mining offers a comprehensive set of in-database algorithms for performing a variety of mining tasks, such as classification, regression, anomaly detection, feature extraction, clustering, and market basket analysis. The algorithms can work on standard case data, transactional data, star schemas, and text and other forms of unstructured data. Oracle Data Mining is uniquely suited to the mining of very large data sets.

Oracle Data Mining is one of the two components of the Oracle Advanced Analytics Option of Oracle Database Enterprise Edition. The other component is Oracle R Enterprise, which integrates R, the open-source statistical environment, with Oracle Database. Together, Oracle Data Mining and Oracle R Enterprise constitute a comprehensive advanced analytics platform for big data analytics.

Data Mining in the Database Kernel

Oracle Data Mining is implemented in the Oracle Database kernel. Data Mining models are first class database objects. Oracle Data Mining processes use built-in features of Oracle Database to maximize scalability and make efficient use of system resources.

Data mining within Oracle Database offers many advantages:

  • No Data Movement. Some data mining products require that the data be exported from a corporate database and converted to a specialized format for mining. With Oracle Data Mining, no data movement or conversion is needed. This makes the entire mining process less complex, time-consuming, and error-prone, and it allows for the mining of very large data sets.

  • Security. Your data is protected by the extensive security mechanisms of Oracle Database. Moreover, specific database privileges are needed for different data mining activities. Only users with the appropriate privileges can define, manipulate, or apply mining model objects.

  • Data Preparation and Administration. Most data must be cleansed, filtered, normalized, sampled, and transformed in various ways before it can be mined. Up to 80% of the effort in a data mining project is often devoted to data preparation. Oracle Data Mining can automatically manage key steps in the data preparation process. Additionally, Oracle Database provides extensive administrative tools for preparing and managing data.

  • Ease of Data Refresh. Mining processes within Oracle Database have ready access to refreshed data. Oracle Data Mining can easily deliver mining results based on current data, thereby maximizing its timeliness and relevance.

  • Oracle Database Analytics. Oracle Database offers many features for advanced analytics and business intelligence. Oracle Data Mining can easily be integrated with other analytical features of the database, such as statistical analysis and OLAP. (See "Overview of Database Analytics".)

  • Oracle Technology Stack. You can take advantage of all aspects of Oracle's technology stack to integrate data mining within a larger framework for business intelligence or scientific inquiry.

  • Domain Environment. Data mining models have to be built, tested, validated, managed, and deployed in their appropriate application domain environments. Data mining results may need to be post-processed as part of domain specific computations (for example, calculating estimated risks and response probabilities) and then stored into permanent repositories or data warehouses. With Oracle Data Mining, the pre- and post-mining activities can all be accomplished within the same environment.

  • Application Programming Interfaces. The PL/SQL API and SQL language operators provide direct access to Oracle Data Mining functionality in Oracle Database.

Data Mining in Oracle Exadata

Scoring refers to the process of applying a data mining model to data to generate predictions. The scoring process may require significant system resources. Vast amounts of data may be involved, and algorithmic processing may be very complex.

With Oracle Data Mining, scoring can be off-loaded to intelligent Oracle Exadata Storage Servers where processing is extremely performant.

Oracle Exadata Storage Servers combine Oracle's smart storage software and Oracle's industry-standard Sun hardware to deliver the industry's highest database storage performance. For more information about Oracle Exadata, visit the Oracle Technology Network:

http://www.oracle.com/us/products/database/exadata/index.htm

Interfaces to Oracle Data Mining

The programmatic interfaces to Oracle Data Mining are PL/SQL for building and maintaining models and a family of SQL functions for scoring. Oracle Data Mining also supports a graphical user interface, which is implemented as an extension to Oracle SQL Developer.

Oracle Predictive Analytics, a set of simplified data mining routines, is built on top of Oracle Data Mining and is implemented as a PL/SQL package.

PL/SQL API

The Oracle Data Mining PL/SQL API is implemented in the DBMS_DATA_MINING PL/SQL package, which contains routines for building, testing, and maintaining data mining models. A batch apply operation is also included in this package.

Example 2-1 shows part of a simple PL/SQL script for creating an SVM classification model called SVMC_SH_Clas_sample. The model build uses weights, specified in a weights table, and settings, specified in a settings table. The weights influence the weighting of target classes. The settings override default behavior. The model uses Automatic Data Preparation (prep_auto_on setting). The model is trained on the data in mining_data_build_v.

Example 2-1 Creating a Classification Model

-----------------------  CREATE AND POPULATE A CLASS WEIGHTS TABLE  ------------
CREATE TABLE svmc_sh_sample_class_wt (
  target_value NUMBER,
  class_weight NUMBER);
INSERT INTO svmc_sh_sample_class_wt VALUES (0,0.35);
INSERT INTO svmc_sh_sample_class_wt VALUES (1,0.65);
COMMIT;
-----------------------  CREATE AND POPULATE A SETTINGS TABLE ------------------
CREATE TABLE svmc_sh_sample_settings (
  setting_name  VARCHAR2(30),
  setting_value VARCHAR2(4000));
INSERT INTO svmc_sh_sample_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES
  (dbms_data_mining.algo_name, dbms_data_mining.algo_support_vector_machines);
INSERT INTO svmc_sh_sample_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES
  (dbms_data_mining.svms_kernel_function, dbms_data_mining.svms_linear);
INSERT INTO svmc_sh_sample_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES
  (dbms_data_mining.clas_weights_table_name, 'svmc_sh_sample_class_wt');
INSERT INTO svmc_sh_sample_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES
  (dbms_data_mining.prep_auto, dbms_data_mining.prep_auto_on);
END;
/
------------------------  CREATE THE MODEL -------------------------------------
BEGIN
  DBMS_DATA_MINING.CREATE_MODEL(
    model_name          => 'SVMC_SH_Clas_sample',
    mining_function     => dbms_data_mining.classification,
    data_table_name     => 'mining_data_build_v',
    case_id_column_name => 'cust_id',
    target_column_name  => 'affinity_card',
    settings_table_name => 'svmc_sh_sample_settings');
END;
/

SQL Functions

The Data Mining SQL functions perform prediction, clustering, and feature extraction. The functions score data by applying a mining model object or by executing an analytic clause that performs dynamic scoring.

Example 2-2 shows a query that applies the classification model svmc_sh_clas_sample to the data in the view mining_data_apply_v. The query returns the average age of customers who are likely to use an affinity card. The results are broken out by gender.

Example 2-2 The PREDICTION Function

SELECT cust_gender,
       COUNT(*) AS cnt,
       ROUND(AVG(age)) AS avg_age
  FROM mining_data_apply_v
 WHERE PREDICTION(svmc_sh_clas_sample USING *) = 1
GROUP BY cust_gender
ORDER BY cust_gender;

C        CNT    AVG_AGE
- ---------- ----------
F         59         41
M        409         45

See Also:

"In-Database Scoring" for more information about scoring, including an example of dynamic scoring

Oracle Data Miner

Oracle Data Miner is a graphical interface to Oracle Data Mining. Oracle Data Miner is an extension to Oracle SQL Developer, which is available for download free of charge on the Oracle Technology Network.

Oracle Data Miner uses a work flow paradigm to capture, document, and automate the process of building, evaluating, and applying data mining models. Within a work flow, you can specify data transformations, build and evaluate multiple models, and score multiple data sets. You can then save work flows and share them with other users.

Figure 2-1 An Oracle Data Miner Workflow

Description of Figure 2-1 follows
Description of "Figure 2-1 An Oracle Data Miner Workflow"

For information about Oracle Data Miner, including installation instructions, visit the following page on the Oracle Technology Network:

http://www.oracle.com/pls/topic/lookup?ctx=db121&id=datminGUI

Predictive Analytics

Predictive Analytics is a technology that captures data mining processes in simple routines. Sometimes called "one-click data mining," predictive analytics simplifies and automates the data mining process.

Predictive analytics uses data mining technology, but knowledge of data mining is not needed to use predictive analytics. You can use predictive analytics simply by specifying an operation to perform on your data. You do not need to create or use mining models or understand the mining functions and algorithms summarized in Chapter 3.

Oracle Data Mining predictive analytics operations are described in Table 2-1.

Table 2-1 Oracle Predictive Analytics Operations

Operation Description

EXPLAIN

Explains how individual predictors (columns) affect the variation of values in a target column

PREDICT

For each case (row), predicts the values in a target column

PROFILE

Creates a set of rules for cases (rows) that imply the same target value


The Oracle predictive analytics operations are implemented in the DBMS_PREDICTIVE_ANALYTICS PL/SQL package. They are also available in Oracle Data Miner.

Overview of Database Analytics

Oracle Database supports an array of native analytical features that are independent of the Oracle Advanced Analytics Option. Since all these features are part of a common server it is possible to combine them efficiently. The results of analytical processing can be integrated with Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition and other BI tools and applications.

The possibilities for combining different analytics are virtually limitless. Example 2-3 shows data mining and text processing within a single SQL query. The query selects all customers who have a high propensity to attrite (> 80% chance), are valuable customers (customer value rating > 90), and have had a recent conversation with customer services regarding a Checking Plus account. The propensity to attrite information is computed using a Data Mining model called tree_model. The query uses the Oracle Text CONTAINS operator to search call center notes for references to Checking Plus accounts.

Example 2-3 SQL Query Combining Oracle Data Mining and Oracle Text

SELECT A.cust_name, A.contact_info
  FROM customers A
 WHERE PREDICTION_PROBABILITY(tree_model,
            'attrite' USING A.*) > 0.8
   AND A.cust_value > 90
   AND A.cust_id IN
       (SELECT B.cust_id
          FROM call_center B
         WHERE B.call_date BETWEEN '01-Jan-2005'
                               AND '30-Jun-2005'   
         AND CONTAINS(B.notes, 'Checking Plus', 1) > 0);

Some of the native analytics supported by Oracle Database are described in Table 2-2.

Table 2-2 Oracle Database Native Analytics

Analytical Feature Description Documented In...

Complex data transformations

Data transformation is a key aspect of analytical applications and ETL (extract, transform, and load). You can use SQL expressions to implement data transformations, or you can use the DBMS_DATA_MINING_TRANSFORM package.

DBMS_DATA_MINING_TRANSFORM is a flexible data transformation package that includes a variety of missing value and outlier treatments, as well as binning and normalization capabilities.

Oracle Database PL/SQL Packages and Types Reference

Statistical functions

Oracle Database provides a long list of SQL statistical functions with support for: hypothesis testing (such as t-test, F-test), correlation computation (such as pearson correlation), cross-tab statistics, and descriptive statistics (such as median and mode). The DBMS_STAT_FUNCS package adds distribution fitting procedures and a summary procedure that returns descriptive statistics for a column.

Oracle Database SQL Language Reference and Oracle Database PL/SQL Packages and Types Reference

Window and analytic SQL functions

Oracle Database supports analytic and windowing functions for computing cumulative, moving, and centered aggregates. With windowing aggregate functions, you can calculate moving and cumulative versions of SUM, AVERAGE, COUNT, MAX, MIN, and many more functions.

Oracle Database Data Warehousing Guide

Linear algebra

The UTL_NLA package exposes a subset of the popular BLAS and LAPACK (Version 3.0) libraries for operations on vectors and matrices represented as VARRAYs. This package includes procedures to solve systems of linear equations, invert matrices, and compute eigenvalues and eigenvectors.

Oracle Database PL/SQL Packages and Types Reference

OLAP

Oracle OLAP supports multidimensional analysis and can be used to improve performance of multidimensional queries. Oracle OLAP provides functionality previously found only in specialized OLAP databases. Moving beyond drill-downs and roll-ups, Oracle OLAP also supports time-series analysis, modeling, and forecasting.

Oracle OLAP User's Guide

Spatial analytics

Oracle Spatial provides advanced spatial features to support high-end GIS and LBS solutions. Oracle Spatial's analysis and mining capabilities include functions for binning, detection of regional patterns, spatial correlation, colocation mining, and spatial clustering.

Oracle Spatial also includes support for topology and network data models and analytics. The topology data model of Oracle Spatial allows one to work with data about nodes, edges, and faces in a topology. It includes network analysis functions for computing shortest path, minimum cost spanning tree, nearest-neighbors analysis, traveling salesman problem, among others.

Oracle Spatial and Graph Developer's Guide

Text Mining

Oracle Text uses standard SQL to index, search, and analyze text and documents stored in the Oracle database, in files, and on the web. Oracle Text also supports automatic classification and clustering of document collections. Many of the analytical features of Oracle Text are layered on top of Oracle Data Mining functionality.

Oracle Text Application Developer's Guide