Technology now allows us to capture and store vast quantities of data. Finding patterns, trends, and anomalies in these datasets, and summarizing them with simple quantitative models, is one of the grand challenges of the information age—turning data into information and turning information into knowledge.
This book presents this new discipline in a very accessible form: as a text both to train the next generation of practitioners and researchers and to inform lifelong learners like myself. Witten and Frank have a passion for simple and elegant solutions. They approach each topic with this mindset, grounding all concepts in concrete examples, and urging the reader to consider the simple techniques first, and then progress to the more sophisticated ones if the simple ones prove inadequate.
If you are interested in databases, and have not been following the machine learning field, this book is a great way to catch up on this exciting progress. If you have data that you want to analyze and understand, this book and the associated Weka toolkit are an excellent way to start.