Data mining has become a popular buzzword but, in fact, promises to revolutionize commercial and scientific exploration. Databases range from millions to trillions of bytes of data. Data mining, the extraction of hidden predictive information from large databases, is a powerful new technology with great potential to help companies focus on the most important information in their data warehouses. The automated, prospective analyses offered by data mining move beyond the analyses of past events provided by retrospective tools typical of decision support systems. Data mining tools can answer business questions that traditionally were too time consuming to resolve.