Mining Data Streams

Mining Data Streams

Tamraparni Dasu (AT&T Labs, USA) and Gary Weiss (Fordham University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-010-3.ch194
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Abstract

When a space shuttle takes off, tiny sensors measure thousands of data points every fraction of a second, pertaining to a variety of attributes like temperature, acceleration, pressure and velocity. A data gathering server at a networking company receives terabytes of data a day from various network elements like routers, reporting on traffic throughput, CPU usage, machine loads and performance. Each of these is an example of a data stream. Many applications of data streams arise naturally in industry (networking, e-commerce) and scientific fields (meteorology, rocketry). Data streams pose three unique challenges that make them interesting from a data mining perspective. 1. Size: The number of measurements as well as the number of attributes (variables) is very large. For instance, an IP network has thousands of elements each of which collects data every few seconds on multiple attributes like traffic, load, resource availability, topography, configuration and connections. 2. Rate of accumulation: The data arrives very rapidly, like “water from a fire hydrant”. Data storage and analysis techniques need to keep up with the data to avoid insurmountable backlogs. 3. Data transience: We get to see the raw data points at most once since the volumes of the raw data are too high to store or access.
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Introduction

When a space shuttle takes off, tiny sensors measure thousands of data points every fraction of a second, pertaining to a variety of attributes like temperature, acceleration, pressure and velocity. A data gathering server at a networking company receives terabytes of data a day from various network elements like routers, reporting on traffic throughput, CPU usage, machine loads and performance. Each of these is an example of a data stream. Many applications of data streams arise naturally in industry (networking, e-commerce) and scientific fields (meteorology, rocketry).

Data streams pose three unique challenges that make them interesting from a data mining perspective.

  • 1.

    Size: The number of measurements as well as the number of attributes (variables) is very large. For instance, an IP network has thousands of elements each of which collects data every few seconds on multiple attributes like traffic, load, resource availability, topography, configuration and connections.

  • 2.

    Rate of accumulation: The data arrives very rapidly, like “water from a fire hydrant”. Data storage and analysis techniques need to keep up with the data to avoid insurmountable backlogs.

  • 3.

    Data transience: We get to see the raw data points at most once since the volumes of the raw data are too high to store or access.

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Background

Data streams are a predominant form of information today, arising in areas and applications ranging from telecommunications, meteorology and sensor networks, to the monitoring and support of e-commerce sites. Data streams pose unique analytical, statistical and computing challenges that are just beginning to be addressed. In this chapter we give an overview of the analysis and monitoring of data streams and discuss the analytical and computing challenges posed by the unique constraints associated with data streams.

There are a wide variety of analytical problems associated with mining and monitoring data streams, such as:

  • 1.

    Data reduction,

  • 2.

    Characterizing constantly changing distributions and detecting changes in these distributions,

  • 3.

    Identifying outliers, tracking rare events and anomalies,

  • 4.

    “Correlating” multiple data streams,

  • 5.

    Building predictive models,

  • 6.

    Clustering and classifying data streams, and

  • 7.

    Visualization.

As innovative applications in on-demand entertainment, gaming and other areas evolve, new forms of data streams emerge, each posing new and complex challenges.

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Main Focus

The data mining community has been active in developing a framework for the analysis of data streams. Research is focused primarily in the field of computer science, with an emphasis on computational and database issues. Henzinger, Raghavan & Rajagopalan (1998) discuss the computing framework for maintaining aggregates from data using a limited number of passes. Domingos & Hulten (2001) formalize the challenges, desiderata and research issues for mining data streams. Collection of rudimentary statistics for data streams is addressed in Zhu & Sasha (2002) and Babcock, Datar, Matwani & O’Callaghan (2003). Clustering (Aggarwal, Han, Wang & Yu, 2003), classification, association rules (Charikar, Chen & Farach-Colton, 2002) and other data mining algorithms have been considered and adapted for data streams.

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