An exciting and potentially far-reaching development in computer science is the invention and application of methods of machine learning (ML). These enable a computer program to automatically analyse a large body of data and decide what information is most relevant. This crystallised information can then be used to automatically make predictions or to help people make decisions faster and more accurately.
Our objectives are to
- make ML techniques generally available;
- apply them to practical problems that matter to New Zealand industry;
- develop new machine learning algorithms and give them to the world;
- contribute to a theoretical framework for the field.
Our team has incorporated several standard ML techniques into a software “workbench” called Weka, for Waikato Environment for Knowledge Analysis. With it, a specialist in a particular field is able to use ML to derive useful knowledge from databases that are far too large to be analysed by hand. Weka’s users are ML researchers and industrial scientists, but it is also widely used for teaching. Recently, our team has also worked on MOA, an environment for mining data streams.