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Data Mining For the Masses

A proposed data mining specification for J2EE-compliant application servers has gotten approval from a Java standards board.

In a statement Thursday, the Java Community Process (JCP) Executive Committee said it unanimously approved Java Specification Request (JSR) 73 (also known as Java Data Mining API -- or JDMAPI), the industry's first Java Data Mining specification designed specifically to incorporate data mining into any application that requires advanced analytics.

Previously, developers had to rely on proprietary APIs and were forced to learn disparate interfaces for each development language, such as C or Java.

The spec also includes a set of functions and algorithms for classification, regression, association, clustering, and attribute importance. The working group was also very satisfied with its work because the API is designed to let beginners and experts use a common framework for expanding the API.

"Widespread adoption of Java Data Mining will bring data mining to the masses because developers can learn one API and embed analytics in any application, regardless of vendor," Jacek Myczkowski, Oracle vice president of Data Mining Technologies and Life Sciences said in a statement.

Development of data mining is important in the enterprise in that it can look for hidden patterns in a group of data that can be used to predict future behavior. The technology is popular in the science and mathematical fields but also is utilized increasingly by business intelligence and analytics marketers trying to distill useful consumer data from Web sites. For example, data mining software can help retail companies find customers with common interests.

And while the spec is helpful for developers writing new Application Programming Interfaces (API) and Web services standards, JSR-73 also connects to other data mining standards such as the DMG's Predictive Model Markup Language, OMG's Common Warehouse Metadata (CWM), and ISO's Structured Query Language Multimedia.

The Expert group achieved compatibility after noting that using JDMAPI let developers expose a single, standard API that will be understood by a wide variety of client applications and components running on the J2EE Platform. The goal was to provide for data mining systems what JDBC did for relational databases. A sister JSR, JSR-69 supporting an API for OLAP, provided a common basis in the OMG CWM meta-model.

The realization of JSR-73 has been a long road. Development began in July 2000 and has been available to the public for review since October 2002. The specification was spearheaded by Oracle but was also championed by BEA Systems, Computer Associates, Desai, Nikhil, Fair Isaac Corporation, Hyperion Solutions, IBM, KXEN, SAP AG, SAS Institute, SPSS, Strategic Analytics and Sun Microsystems.