"SPIRIT: Sequential Pattern Mining with Regular Expression Constraints"

by Minos N. Garofalakis, Rajeev Rastogi, and Kyuseok Shim.
Proceedings of VLDB'99, Edinburgh, Scotland, September 1999, pp. 223-234.


Discovering sequential patterns is an important problem in data mining with a host of application domains including medicine, telecommunications, and the World Wide Web. Conventional mining systems provide users with only a very restricted mechanism (based on minimum support) for specifying patterns of interest. In this paper, we propose the use of Regular Expressions (REs) as a flexible constraint specification tool that enables user-controlled focus to be incorporated into the pattern mining process. We develop a family of novel algorithms (termed SPIRIT -- Sequential Pattern mIning with Regular expressIon consTraints) for mining frequent sequential patterns that also satisfy user-specified RE constraints. The main distinguishing factor among the proposed schemes is the degree to which the RE constraints are enforced to prune the search space of patterns during computation. Our solutions provide valuable insights into the tradeoffs that arise when constraints that do not subscribe to nice properties (like anti-monotonicity) are integrated into the mining process. A quantitative exploration of these tradeoffs is conducted through an extensive experimental study on synthetic and real-life data sets.

[ camera-ready paper (pdf) (ps.gz) | journal version (in IEEE TKDE) | my talk slides (ppt.gz) ]

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