CS4445 Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery in Databases

Syllabus— B Term 2012

Prof. Carolina Ruiz

WARNING: Small changes to this syllabus may be made during the semester.


This course provides an introduction to Knowledge Discovery in Databases (KDD) and Data Mining. KDD deals with data integration techniques and with the discovery, interpretation and visualization of patterns in large collections of data. Topics covered in this course include data warehousing and mediation techniques; data mining methods such as rule-based learning, decision trees, association rules and sequence mining; and data visualization. The work discussed originates in the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, statistical data analysis, data visualization, databases, and information retrieval. Several scientific and industrial applications of KDD will be studied.


Recommended background:
  • MA 2611 Applied Statistics;
  • CS 2223 Algorithms; and
  • CS 3431 Database Systems I or CS 3733 Software Engineering.


Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays 1:00-1:50 pm
Room: SL406
Please come to class on time and stay for the whole class period.


  • Learn and use computational techniques for data transformation, integration, and cleaning.
    Practice with and evaluation of this outcome: Projects 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Exams 1, 2

  • Learn and use computational techniques for discovering patterns and trends in data collections.
    Practice with and evaluation of this outcome: Projects 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Exams 1, 2

  • Learn and use computational approaches for constructing and evaluating predictive models and descriptive models built upon patterns discovered from data.
    Practice with and evaluation of this outcome: Projects 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Exams 1, 2

  • Apply course material to discover patterns from data in a variety of application domains.
    Practice with and evaluation of this outcome: Projects 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

  • Analyze and experimentally evaluate algorithms and implementations of data mining techniques in multiple real-world application domains.
    Practice with and evaluation of this outcome: Projects 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.


Prof. Carolina Ruiz

Office: FL 232
Phone Number: (508) 831-5640
Office Hours:
Mondays 11:00 am - 12:00 noon
Thursdays 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
if the above times don't work for you, contact Prof. Ruiz to schedule a meeting at a different time.


Kenneth Loomis
Office Hours: Fuller Labs A22
Tuesdays 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Fridays 10:00 am - 11:00 am
if the above times don't work for you, contact Ken to schedule a meeting at a different time.

See Class Mailing Lists for instructions on how to reach the professor and the TA by email.


Several other books on the subject and related subjects are recommended below. Some research papers will be handed out during the term.


Exam 1 20%
Exam 2 20%
Project 1 10%
Project 2 12%
Project 3 12%
Project 4 12%
Project 5 12%
Class Participation: 2%

Your final grade will reflect your own work and achievements during the course. Any type of cheating will be reported to the WPI Judicial Board and penalized in accordance with the Academic Honesty Policy.

According to the WPI Undergraduate Catalog, "Unless otherwise indicated, WPI courses usually carry credit of 1/3 unit. This level of activity suggests at least 17 hours of work per week, including class and laboratory time." Hence, you are expected to spend at least 13 hours of work per week on this course outside the classroom.


This course may be taken for graduate credit by students in the BS/MS CS program. Written permission from the professor is required. In order to receive graduate credit, students who have signed up for this program need to work on projects/homework alone (that is, in "groups" of 1 student).


There will be a total of 2 exams. Each exam will cover the material presented in class since the beginning of the term. In particular, the final exam is cumulative. Exams will be in-class, closed-book, individual exams. Collaboration or other outside assistance on exams is not allowed.
Check the course schedule for exam dates.

Regarding makeup exams, I follow Prof. Gennert's policy: "Makeup and/or early examinations are not given except under the most dire of circumstances, and then only with corroborating documentation. Note well that neither oversleeping, forgetting to show up for an exam, nor conflicting travel arrangements are considered dire circumstances."


There will be several projects assigned during the term. Each of the projects deals with one or more of the data mining techniques covered in the class.
Data Mining Tool
For most of the projects, we will use the
Weka system (http://www.cs.waikato.ac.nz/ml/weka/). Weka is an excellent machine-leaning/data-mining environment. It provides a large collection of Java-based mining algorithms, data preprocessing filters, and experimentation capabilities. Weka is open source software issued under the GNU General Public License. For more information on the Weka system, to download the system and to get its documentation, look at Weka's webpage (http://www.cs.waikato.ac.nz/ml/weka/). You should download and use the latest developer version (currently weka-3-7-7) of the system.
Students are expected to organize themselves into groups of exactly 2 for each of the projects, except for students taking this course for BS/MS credit who are expected to work on the projects alone. Each project will contain both an individual assignment and a group assignment. Groups need not be the same for all projects.
Submissions and Late Policy
See each project statement for details.
Project Descriptions
More detailed descriptions of the projects will be posted to the course webpage at the appropriate times during the term. Although you may find similar programs/systems available online or in the references, the design and all code you use and submit, the results, and the analysis of the results in your projects/homework submissions MUST be your own original work.


Students are expected to read the material assigned for each class in advance and to participate in class discussions. Class participation will count toward students' final grades.


There are two mailing lists for this class (replace XXXX with 4445 below):


The web pages for this class are located at http://www.cs.wpi.edu/~cs4445/b12/
Announcements will be posted on the web pages and/or the class mailing list, and so you are urged to check your email and the class web pages frequently. 


Small changes to this syllabus may be made during the course of the term.


See my list of additional Machine Learning, AI, Data Mining, Statistics, Databases, Data Sets and other online resources.


Previous offerings of CS4445

Webpages of my previous offerings of this course have plenty of useful resources: practice exams, exams, homework, solutions of those exams/hw, etc.

WPI Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Computer Science Department