Using frequent patterns to analyze data has been one of the fundamental approaches in many data mining applications. Research in frequent pattern mining has so far mostly focused on developing efficient algorithms to discover various kinds of frequent patterns, but little attention has been paid to the important next step - -interpreting the discovered frequent patterns. Although the compression and summarization of frequent patterns has been studied in some recent work, the proposed techniques there can only annotate a frequent pattern with nonsemantical information (e.g., support), which provides only limited help for a user to understand the patterns. In this article, we study the novel problem of generating semantic annotations for frequent patterns. The goal is to discover the hidden meanings of a frequent pattern by annotating it with in-depth, concise, and structured information. We propose a general approach to generate such an annotation for a frequent pattern by constructing its context model, selecting informative context indicators, and extracting representative transactions and semantically similar patterns. This general approach can well incorporate the user's prior knowledge, and has potentially many applications, such as generating a dictionary-like description for a pattern, finding synonym patterns, discovering semantic relations, and summarizing semantic classes of a set of frequent patterns. Experiments on different datasets show that our approach is effective in generating semantic pattern annotations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11
JournalACM Transactions on Knowledge Discovery from Data
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007


  • Frequent pattern
  • Pattern annotation
  • Pattern context
  • Pattern semantic analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)


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