Fast implementation of pattern mining algorithms with time stamp uncertainties and temporal constraints

Sofya Titarenko, Valeriy Titarenko, Georgios Aivaliotis, Jan Palczewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Pattern mining is a powerful tool for analysing big datasets. Temporal datasets include time as an additional parameter. This leads to complexity in algorithmic formulation, and it can be challenging to process such data quickly and efficiently. In addition, errors or uncertainty can exist in the timestamps of data, for example in manually recorded health data. Sometimes we wish to find patterns only within a certain temporal range. In some cases real-time processing and decision-making may be desirable. All these issues increase algorithmic complexity, processing times and storage requirements. In addition, it may not be possible to store or process confidential data on public clusters or the cloud that can be accessed by many people. Hence it is desirable to optimise algorithms for standalone systems. In this paper we present an integrated approach which can be used to write efficient codes for pattern mining problems. The approach includes: (1) cleaning datasets with removal of infrequent events, (2) presenting a new scheme for time-series data storage, (3) exploiting the presence of prior information about a dataset when available, (4) utilising vectorisation and multicore parallelisation. We present two new algorithms, FARPAM (FAst Robust PAttern Mining) and FARPAMp (FARPAM with prior information about prior uncertainty, allowing faster searching). The algorithms are applicable to a wide range of temporal datasets. They implement a new formulation of the pattern searching function which reproduces and extends existing algorithms (such as SPAM and RobustSPAM), and allows for significantly faster calculation. The algorithms also include an option of temporal restrictions in patterns, which is available neither in SPAM nor in RobustSPAM. The searching algorithm is designed to be flexible for further possible extensions. The algorithms are coded in C++, and are highly optimised and parallelised for a modern standalone multicore workstation, thus avoiding security issues connected with transfers of confidential data onto clusters. FARPAM has been successfully tested on a publicly available weather dataset and on a confidential adult social care dataset, reproducing results obtained by previous algorithms in both cases. It has been profiled against the widely used SPAM algorithm (for sequential pattern mining) and RobustSPAM (developed for datasets with errors in time points). The algorithm outperforms SPAM by up to 20 times and RobustSPAM by up to 6000 times. In both cases the new algorithm has better scalability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number37
Pages (from-to)1-34
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Big Data
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2019


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