Chapter 2. Business Problems and Data Science Solutions

Fundamental concepts: A set of canonical data mining tasks; The data mining process; Supervised versus unsupervised data mining.

An important principle of data science is that data mining is a process with fairly well-understood stages. Some involve the application of information technology, such as the automated discovery and evaluation of patterns from data, while others mostly require an analyst’s creativity, business knowledge, and common sense. Understanding the whole process helps to structure data mining projects, so they are closer to systematic analyses rather than heroic endeavors driven by chance and individual acumen.

Since the data mining process breaks up the overall task of finding patterns from data into a set of well-defined subtasks, it is also useful for structuring discussions about data science. In this book, we will use the process as an overarching framework for our discussion. This chapter introduces the data mining process, but first we provide additional context by discussing common types of data mining tasks. Introducing these allows us to be more concrete when presenting the overall process, as well as when introducing other concepts in subsequent chapters.

We close the chapter by discussing a set of important business analytics subjects that are not the focus of this book (but for which there are many other helpful books), such as databases, data warehousing, and basic statistics.

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