Association Rule Mining

What Does Association Rule Mining Mean?

Association rule mining is a procedure which is meant to find frequent patterns, correlations, associations, or causal structures from data sets found in various kinds of databases such as relational databases, transactional databases, and other forms of data repositories.


Given a set of transactions, association rule mining aims to find the rules which enable us to predict the occurrence of a specific item based on the occurrences of the other items in the transaction.

Techopedia Explains Association Rule Mining

Association rule mining is the data mining process of finding the rules that may govern associations and causal objects between sets of items.

So in a given transaction with multiple items, it tries to find the rules that govern how or why such items are often bought together. For example, peanut butter and jelly are often bought together because a lot of people like to make PB&J sandwiches.

Also surprisingly, diapers and beer are bought together because, as it turns out, that dads are often tasked to do the shopping while the moms are left with the baby.

The main applications of association rule mining:

  • Basket data analysis – is to analyze the association of purchased items in a single basket or single purchase as per the examples given above.
  • Cross marketing – is to work with other businesses that complement your own, not competitors. For example, vehicle dealerships and manufacturers have cross marketing campaigns with oil and gas companies for obvious reasons.
  • Catalog design – the selection of items in a business’ catalog are often designed to complement each other so that buying one item will lead to buying of another. So these items are often complements or very related.

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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…