Association Rules: Advanced Concept

Acknowledgement: This course (CSCI 5523) is being offered by Prof. Vipin Kumar at the University of Minnesota in Fall 2020.

Data Mining: Advance Concepts of Association Analysis

Sequential Patterns

Example of sequence:

  • Sequence of different transaction by a customer at an online store
    <{Digital Camera, iPad} {Memory card} {headphone, iPad cover}>
  • Sequence of book checked out at a library:
    <{Fellowship of the Ring} {The Two Towers} {Return of the King}>
  • more on the table below

How does the sequence data look like in database?

What does sequence data differ from market-basket data?
From Sequence data, we can tell people who bought item {2} would be likely to buy item {1} afterward on the next purchase. And Market-basket data tells us that people who bought item {1,8} would be likely to buy item {7} on the same purchase.

Formal def of sequence

A sequence is an ordered list of elements , when each element contains a collection of events(items) . Length of a sequence is given by the number of elements in the sequence. A k-sequence is a sequence that contains k events (items).

Visual def of subsequence

A subsequence is contained in another data sequence if each element of subsuence is a subset of a corresponding element of the data sequence. For the second row of the table, element {1} of subsuquence is a subset of element {1,2} of data sequence. Since {2} is a element in subsequence but it doesn’t have a corresponding element in data sequence, it’s not contained. Note that the order in subsequence doesn’t matter.

Sequential Pattern Mining

Now let’s talk about support again. The support of a subsequence is defined as the fraction of data sequences that contain . A sequential pattern is a frequent subsequence (i.e., a subsequence where ). Suppose we’re given a database of sequences and a user-specified minimum support threshold (i.e., minsup), the task is to find all subsuquences with support greater than or equal to minsup. There is an example of frequent subsequences:
Here are only examples but not all the frequent subsequences. For instance, if we look at subsuquence <{1,2}>, since it’s a subset of sequence A B C out of A B C D E, the support of it is 60% which is higher than our specified minsup, so it’s a frequent subsequence.

After talking about support, let’s talk about confidence. The calculation of confidence here is different from normal transaction database (market-basket data).

How can we extract sequential patterns?

  • Given events:
  • Candidate 1-subsequences:
  • Candidate 2-subsequences:

  • Candidate 3-subquences:

A 2 events example:
As you can see, the idea seems to be computational expensive here if we have many events. So we introduce a method called Generalized Sequential Pattern (GSP) to deal with it.

  1. Make the first pass over the sequence database D to yield all the 1-element frequent sequences
  2. Repeat until no new frequent sequences are found
    • Candidate Generation: Merge pairs of frequent subsequences found in the (k-1)th pass to generate candidate sequences that contain k items
    • Candidate Pruning: Prune candidate k-sequences that contain infrequent (k-1)-subsequences
    • Support Counting: Make a new pass over the sequence database D to find the support for these candidate sequences
    • Candidate Elimination: Eliminate candidate k-sequences whose actual support is less than minsup

What does “merge” mean above? Some example below:
A visual walk-through of candidate generation:
No matter which item I cross out in <{1} {2 5} {3}>, I can always find it in the frequent 3-sequences. For instance, if I cross out {1}, check if <{2 5} {3}> is in the frequent 3-sequences. If I cross out {2}, check if <{1} {5} {3}> is in the frequent 3-sequences. If I cross out {3}, check if <{1} {2 5}> is in the frequent 3-sequences. Do it for all cadidate generation and you will find only <{1} {2 5} {3}> survives, the others have been pruned.