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Tim Mitchell

Tim Mitchell is a business intelligence consultant, author, trainer, and SQL Server MVP with over a decade of experience. Tim is the principal of Tyleris Data Solutions and is a Linchpin People teammate. Tim has spoken at international, regional, and local venues including the SQL PASS Summit, SQLBits, SQL Connections, SQL Saturday events, and various user groups and webcasts. He is a board member at the North Texas SQL Server User Group in the Dallas area. Tim is coauthor of the book SSIS Design Patterns, and is a contributing author on MVP Deep Dives 2. You can visit his website and blog at TimMitchell.net or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/Tim_Mitchell.

When Data Mining Goes Too Far

Data mining is commonly used to find otherwise undetectable patterns in related sets of data.  However, sometimes these patterns provide absolutely useless information.  This story on FoxNews.com explains a recent correlation between teens who skip breakfast and those that lose their virginity earlier in life.  Interesting information, yes, but what exactly does a parent or other concerned party do with this?  Is it really valuable?

In the business world, I'm sure we could find examples of data mining "hits" that are just as obscure.  Many of them have value, but the real intelligence - I mean human knowledge, not some component of software - is being able to determine which patterns are actually useful.  Delivering bits of information such as the example above could lead to information overload and defeat the business purpose of data mining.

Now I'm off to evaluate whether I should force Cocoa Crispies into my kids to keep them abstinent :)

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