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Functional dependencies are constraints that can be defined on a relational database. Association rule mining, on the other hand, aims at discovering new knowledge in the form of patterns of relationships or associations among data items stored in a database. Functional dependencies and association rules may appear to be two distinct and unrelated concepts. In reality, however, the two are strongly inter-related. In this paper, the authors describe the similarities and differences between functional dependencies and association rules and introduce a formal definition of functional dependencies in terms of association rules. They also show how formally defining the relationship between functional dependencies and association rules can be useful to a relational database in several ways.
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