Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie dell'Informazione     
Bistarelli S., Bonchi F. Soft Constraint Based Pattern Mining. The document has been submitted to Journal: DATA & KNOWLEDGE ENGINEERING, Elsevier, Technical report, 2006.
The paradigm of pattern discovery based on constraints was introduced with the aim of providing to the user a tool to drive the discovery process towards poten- tially interesting patterns, with the positive side effect of achieving a more efficient computation. So far the research on this paradigm has mainly focussed on the latter aspect: the development of efficient algorithms for the evaluation of constraint-based mining queries. Due to the lack of research on methodological issues, the constraint- based pattern mining framework still suffers from many problems which limit its practical relevance. In this paper we analyze such limitations and we show how they flow out from the same source: the fact that in the classical constraint-based mining, a constraint is a rigid boolean function which returns either true or false. Indeed, interestingness is not a dichotomy. Following this consideration, we introduce the new paradigm of pattern discovery based on Soft Constraints, where constraints are no longer rigid boolean functions. Albeit based on a simple idea, our proposal has many merits: it provides a rigorous theoretical framework, which is very general (having the classical paradigm as a particular instance), and which overcomes all the major methodological drawbacks of the classical constraint-based paradigm, representing an important step further towards practical pattern discovery.
Subject Frequent Pattern Mining
Constraint-based Mining
Soft Constraints
H2.8 Database Applications

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