Pair awarded $35,000 for data mining research

Oct 16, 2003, vol. 28, no. 4

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SFU computer scientists Ke Wang and Martin Ester have each been awarded $35,000 to further research that could revolutionize the capabilities of data mining.

The process of electronically uncovering hidden knowledge in giant databases to further all kinds of research, including health, marketing and scientific is known as data mining.

Wang is researching ways of using data mining itself to resolve privacy issues that arise from capturing wide swaths of data that contain personal information.

The associate editor of an institute of electrical and electronics engineers journal is experimenting with using data generalization in data mining to create a mask that would shield sensitive information. Ester is researching the relatively new ability of computers to do data mine intelligently.

They can deduce patterns from mined data sequences and propose new searches based on those deductions.

Ester is trying to improve data mining's potential for identifying and analyzing frequent sequential patterns, a capability that could have many applications, particularly in molecular biology and health research.

For example, the ability to determine sequential patterns in patients' medical records could help doctors know which drugs they should stay away from because of adverse reactions.

Wang, a professor, and Ester, an associate professor, at SFU, will use their $35,000 to hire research assistants. Their awards are part of more than $400,000 in funding from Precarn Inc., awarded to 14 Canadian researchers.

Precarn is a not-for-profit national consortium of corporations, research institutes and government agencies supporting the development of robotics and intelligent systems.

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