Data Pre-processing
Data pre-processing is an often neglected but important step in the data mining process. The phrase "Garbage In, Garbage Out" is particularly applicable to data mining
Data mining
Data mining , a relatively young and interdisciplinary field of computer science is the process of discovering new patterns from large data sets involving methods at the intersection of artificial intelligence, machine learning, statistics and database systems...

 and machine learning
Machine learning
Machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence, is a scientific discipline concerned with the design and development of algorithms that allow computers to evolve behaviors based on empirical data, such as from sensor data or databases...

 projects. Data gathering methods are often loosely controlled, resulting in out-of-range values (e.g., Income: -100), impossible data combinations (e.g., Gender: Male, Pregnant: Yes), missing values
Missing values
In statistics, missing data, or missing values, occur when no data value is stored for the variable in the current observation. Missing data are a common occurrence and can have a significant effect on the conclusions that can be drawn from the data....

, etc. Analyzing data that has not been carefully screened for such problems can produce misleading results. Thus, the representation and quality of data is first and foremost before running an analysis.

If there is much irrelevant and redundant information present or noisy and unreliable data, then knowledge discovery
Knowledge discovery
Knowledge discovery is a concept of the field of computer science that describes the process of automatically searching large volumes of data for patterns that can be considered knowledge about the data . It is often described as deriving knowledge from the input data...

 during the training phase is more difficult. Data preparation and filtering steps can take considerable amount of processing time. Data pre-processing includes cleaning, normalization, transformation, feature extraction
Feature extraction
In pattern recognition and in image processing, feature extraction is a special form of dimensionality reduction.When the input data to an algorithm is too large to be processed and it is suspected to be notoriously redundant then the input data will be transformed into a reduced representation...

 and selection, etc. The product of data pre-processing is the final training set
Training set
A training set is a set of data used in various areas of information science to discover potentially predictive relationships. Training sets are used in artificial intelligence, machine learning, genetic programming, intelligent systems, and statistics...

. Kotsiantis et al. (2006) present a well-known algorithm for each step of data pre-processing.
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