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New Tools Simplify Data Mining

New Tools Simplify Data Mining

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In this era of big data, researchers are relying more and more on data mining to help them with their research. Researchers from nearly every field (not to mention businesses from almost every sector) are slicing, dicing, and sifting an exponentially growing mass of data, looking for patterns, trends, and insights. This is powerful stuff, and the essence of the data-intensive “fourth paradigm” of scientific inquiry. 

Powerful, yes, but also complex. Data mining requires numerous steps: data understanding, data cleaning, model creation, and model comparison. Fortunately, there are new tools for Microsoft Excel that make each step simpler and combine them more seamlessly. 

New add-ins for Microsoft Excel that simplify data mining are available to download.
New add-ins for Microsoft Excel that simplify data mining are available to download.

These tools, collectively known as the Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP1 Data Mining Add-ins for Office (just rolls off the tongue, yes?) are the product of a joint effort between the Data Mining SQL team and the Microsoft Research Machine Learning and Applied Statistics group.  The tools are available for download.

Microsoft Data Mining Add-ins help you take advantage of SQL Server predictive analytics in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Visio. The download includes the following components:

  • Table Analysis Tools for Excel: This add-in provides easy-to-use tasks within Excel that utilize SQL Server 2012 data mining models to deliver quick insights on your spreadsheet data. With just a few clicks, you can analyze key influencers for a given outcome, highlight exceptions, automatically detect groups, fill in missing data, make time series forecasts, or do market basket analysis.
  • Data Mining Client for Excel: By using this add-in, you can create, test, explore, and manage data mining models within Excel, by using either your spreadsheet data or external data that is accessible through your SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services instance.
  • Data Mining Templates for Visio: This add-in enables you to render and share your mining models as annotatable Visio drawings.

This integrated, comprehensive set of tools should make life simpler for anyone with big data to mine.

David Heckerman, Distinguished Scientist, Microsoft Research 
Raman Iyer, Principal Group Manager (Development), SQL Server Business Intelligence, Microsoft Corporation

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