What does "data mining" really mean? As a consultant and instructor in this field, I see a lot of confusion among people looking to extract the most value from their databases.

Usually they assume that data analysis is the same thing as data mining. In the traditional query-driven approach, the analyst generates a series of questions based on his or her domain knowledge, perhaps guided by an idea (hypothesis) to be tested. The answers to these questions are used to deduce a pattern or verify the hypothesis about the data.

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