Home : Technical Terms : Data Mining Definition

Data Mining

Data mining is the process of analyzing large amounts of data in order to discover patterns and other information. It is typically performed on databases, which store data in a structured format. By "mining" large amounts of data, hidden information can be discovered and used for other purposes.

Data Mining Examples

A credit card company might use data mining to learn more about their members' buying habits. By analyzing purchases from cardholders across the United States, the company may discover shopping habits for different demographics, such as age, race, and location. This information could be useful in offering individuals specific promotions. The same data may also reveal shopping patterns in different regions of the country. This information could be valuable to companies looking to advertise or start businesses in specific states.

Online services, such as Google and Facebook, mine enormous amounts of data to provide targeted content and advertisements to their users. Google, for example, might analyze search queries to discover popular searches for certain areas and move those to the top of the autocomplete list (the suggestions that appear as you type). By mining user activity data, Facebook might discover popular topics among different age groups and provide targeted ads based on this information.

While data mining is commonly used for marketing purposes, it has many other uses as well. For instance, healthcare companies may use data mining to discover links between certain genes and diseases. Weather companies can mine data to discover weather patterns that may help predict future meteorologic events. Traffic management institutions can mine automotive data to forecast future traffic levels and create appropriate plans for highways and streets.

Data Mining Requirements

Data mining requires two things — lots of data and lots of computing power. The more organized the data, the easier it is to mine it for useful information. Therefore it is important for any organization that wants to engage in data mining to be proactive in selecting what data to log and how to store it. When it comes to mining the data, supercomputers and computing clusters may be used to process petabytes of data.

Updated: February 11, 2017

Cite this definition:


TechTerms - The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary

This page contains a technical definition of Data Mining. It explains in computing terminology what Data Mining means and is one of many technical terms in the TechTerms dictionary.

All definitions on the TechTerms website are written to be technically accurate but also easy to understand. If you find this Data Mining definition to be helpful, you can reference it using the citation links above. If you think a term should be updated or added to the TechTerms dictionary, please email TechTerms!

Subscribe to the TechTerms Newsletter to get featured terms and quizzes right in your inbox. You can choose to receive either a daily or weekly email.

Sign up for the free TechTerms Newsletter

How often would you like to receive an email?

You can unsubscribe at any time.
Questions? Please contact us.