4.2 Preparing the Case Table

Understand why you have to prepare a case table.

The first step in preparing data for mining is the creation of a case table. If all the data resides in a single table and all the information for each case (record) is included in a single row (single-record case), this process is already taken care of. If the data resides in several tables, creating the data source involves the creation of a view. For the sake of simplicity, the term "case table" is used here to refer to either a table or a view.

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4.2.1 Creating Nested Columns

Learn when to create nested columns.

When the data source includes transactional data (multi-record case), the transactions must be aggregated to the case level in nested columns. In transactional data, the information for each case is contained in multiple rows. An example is sales data in a star schema when mining at the product level. Sales is stored in many rows for a single product (the case) since the product is sold in many stores to many customers over a period of time.

See Also:

Using Nested Data for information about converting transactional data to nested columns

4.2.2 Converting Column Data Types

You must convert the data type of a column if its type causes Oracle Data Mining to interpret it incorrectly. For example, zip codes identify different postal zones; they do not imply order. If the zip codes are stored in a numeric column, they are interpreted as a numeric attribute. You must convert the data type so that the column data can be used as a categorical attribute by the model. You can do this using the TO_CHAR function to convert the digits 1-9 and the LPAD function to retain the leading 0, if there is one.


4.2.3 Text Transformation

You can use Oracle Data Mining to mine text. Columns of text in the case table can be mined once they have undergone the proper transformation.

The text column must be in a table, not a view. The transformation process uses several features of Oracle Text; it treats the text in each row of the table as a separate document. Each document is transformed to a set of text tokens known as terms, which have a numeric value and a text label. The text column is transformed to a nested column of DM_NESTED_NUMERICALS.

4.2.4 About Business and Domain-Sensitive Transformations

Understand why you need to transform data according to business problems.

Some transformations are dictated by the definition of the business problem. For example, you want to build a model to predict high-revenue customers. Since your revenue data for current customers is in dollars you need to define what "high-revenue" means. Using some formula that you have developed from past experience, you can recode the revenue attribute into ranges Low, Medium, and High before building the model.

Another common business transformation is the conversion of date information into elapsed time. For example, date of birth can be converted to age.

Domain knowledge can be very important in deciding how to prepare the data. For example, some algorithms produce unreliable results if the data contains values that fall far outside of the normal range. In some cases, these values represent errors or abnormalities. In others, they provide meaningful information.

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