We consider the application of parallel programming environments to develop portable and efficient high performance data mining (DM) tools. We first assess the need of parallel and distributed DM applications, by pointing out the problems of scalability of some mining techniques and the need to mine large, eventually geographically distributed databases. We discuss the main issues of exploiting parallel and distributed computation for DM algorithms. A high-level programming language enhances the software engineering aspects of parallel DM, and it simplifies the problems of integration with existing sequential and parallel data management systems, thus leading to programming-efficient and high-performance implementations of applications. We describe a programming environment we have implemented that is based on the parallel skeleton model, and we examine the addition of object-like interfaces toward external libraries and system software layers. This kind of abstractions will be included in the forthcoming programming environment ASSIST. In the main part of the chapter, as a proof-of-concept we describe three well-known DM algorithms, Apriori, C4.5, and DBSCAN. For each problem, we explain the sequential algorithm and a structured parallel version, which is discussed and compared to parallel solutions found in the literature. We also discuss the potential gain in performance and expressiveness from the addition of external objects on the basis of the experiments we performed so far. We evaluate the approach with respect to performance results, design, and implementation considerations.