Blog of Joos Buijs

About personal things, process mining and the rest in life.

Archive for the ‘Process Mining’ Category

Whats the difference between a Quality Dimension, a Quality Metric, an Evaluation Metric, a Metric Parameter and the Quality of a Candidate?

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A while ago I received the following question in my mailbox, and I figured I would reply through my blog, since it might be interesting to the ‘general public’ 🙂

The question is as follows:

While I was reading chapter 4 of your PhD thesis, I wandered, what ‘s the difference between the following terms?

  1. Quality Dimension
  2. Quality Metric
  3. Evaluation Metric
  4. Metric Parameter
  5. Quality of Candidate

I think I’ve confused while embracing the different concepts of your ETM framework.

If you please, show me clear differences between them, as I think for somehow one can be an alternative to another in different context(s).

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Written by Joos Buijs

October 14, 2015 at 12:36

Posted in Process Mining

A reply on “Some thoughts on Generalization”

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Last week, Dirk Fahland posted an interesting article on his blog about the generalization quality dimension in process mining (/process discovery). Since this is one of the topics I touched during my PhD research I just have to reply because I have a slightly different view, and I have the feeling that two concepts are mixed in the discussion. Unfortunately, this could not be done in a comment to the original post…

Dirk discusses the problem of the confidence one can have in a discovered process model, given an event log. A very related question is “have we seen enough traces”? These are all valid questions that we currently can not confidently answer (i.e. it is ongoing research).

Before I can explain why my view slightly differs, let me first explain our view on the quality dimensions in process discovery.

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Written by Joos Buijs

January 15, 2014 at 17:49

Process Mining in 1 minute (by Pallas Athena)

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Couldn’t have explained the wonderfulness of process mining any better myself than this 1-minute video by Pallas Athena.

I also like the other videos on the (Australian) Pallas Athena website.

By the way, did you know that the Process Mining part in BPM|One (Reflect|One) is build and maintained by Futura Technology? And that Peter van den Brand, one of the owners and founders, studied and worked in our group??? Small world, isn’t it 🙂

Joos

PS sorry for the long radio silence but I have been working! Maybe I’ll post something about that later this week…

Written by Joos Buijs

September 7, 2011 at 10:34

ProM 5 versus ProM 6

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About Precisely a week ago I read the ‘How to Get Started With Prom‘ blog post on the Fluxicon Blog (err, ‘Capacitor‘). In this blog post Anne explains how an event log can be constructed, using Nitro in this case, then inspected and finally how a process model can be mined and animated using ProM. Overall, the blog post is very nice, as are all posts at the Fluxicon Blog.

There is however one thing I noticed when I was half-way the post: they use ProM 5! At first I thought, why? I mean, ProM 6 is ProM 6 after all, it’s not 4.5, it’s not 5.3, it’s 6! Therefore, it should be better than 5. Furthermore, Fluxicon, especially Christian, had a great influence in the development of ProM 6: Christian designed the new slick user interface of ProM 6 and also developed XES, the new event log standard on which ProM 6 is based (with backward compatibility with MXML which is used in ProM 5). Furthermore, ProM 6 uses ‘packages’ to wrap plug-ins. Packages can be installed and updated independently of the framework therefore allowing plug-ins to be updated by the authors independently of the release cycle of ProM 6.

So, I wondered, why explain new users how ProM 5 works? Shouldn’t you point them to ProM 6? Let them use the newest process mining tool, the state-of-the-art, with all its improvements. I’m not saying that ProM 5 is bad, of course not, but ProM 6 is better. Or is it?

Of course, I could have emailed Anne this question and I would have received a reply but I want to make this a public discussion. Why/when would you use ProM 5 instead of ProM 6?

Well, I can give a couple of reasons but I would sure like to know yours. And, of course, especially Anne’s reasons for introducing ProM 5 to our new process miners instead of ProM 6.

So, in summary, I believe that the benefits of ProM 6 compared to ProM 5 are:

  • Better graphical interface which is nicer than the one of ProM 5. The main new feature of the GUI of ProM 6, in my opinion, is that it’s object based. A plug-in requires certain object (types) and produces certain others. This allows for dynamic ‘chaining’ of plug-ins, each plug-in taking the analysis one step further;
  • Separation between plug-in and ProM 6 framework. You can choose which plug-ins / packages to install and updates can be made more frequent and independent of the ProM 6 framework updates;
  • Support for the new XES event log format but also still supporting the well-known MXML format;
  • Separation of GUI and execution, if a plug-in crashes the framework keeps running in most cases. Furthermore, it also allows for easier ‘grid deployment’ than ProM 5;

However, at the moment, ProM 5 has more (how much more?) plug-ins to offer. Each ProM 5 plug-in needs to be updated by the author (or a student) in order to run in ProM 6. So if you plan to do sophisticated analysis you might want to keep ProM 5 installed.

To conclude, I think that new process miners should be introduced to ProM 6. The usability is better than that of ProM 5 although for both you need a learning period.
For those more advanced in process mining it is necessary to switch between ProM 5 and ProM 6, depending on the type of analysis you want to perform. Hopefully most of the ProM 5 plug-ins will find their way, some with improvements, to ProM 6.

But, that’s only my opinion, what do you think? Do you think ProM 6 can replace ProM 5 yet? Do you point a new process miner to ProM 5 or ProM 6? And did I miss any (dis)advantages???
Let me know either in a comment on this post, the post at the Fluxicon Capacitor or maybe in a dedicated discussion on LinkedIn.

Looking forward to your opinions!!!

Joos

Written by Joos Buijs

November 22, 2010 at 14:36

Wanted: Beta testers for XESame

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So, finally, the day is approaching that my baby gets the “1.0” label. But, before I dare to put it out there, I would like to have it tested, and not only by me.

So, what (/who) is XESame?
XESame started as XESma during my Master’s project. The goal of XESame is to extract event logs from data sources. The input format can be database tables, text files or even XML files. The output is an eventlog in the XES or MXML format.
A good slogan for XESame would be: “Opens the cave of process mining wonders”, but that would be a bit bragging.

Err, sounds great but then what?
This event log can be used in ProM to apply process mining analysis (which is sometimes called ‘magic‘ (Dutch article), it also produces very colorful and nice pictures…). More about ProM and process mining can be found at processmining.org.

But why do you want to test it now?
In September 2010, at the BPM’10 conference in New York, the ProM 6 framework will be officially released. Included in this framework is XESame. The next few days and weeks ProM 6 will be tested (internally) for the release. Since XESame will be released for the first time and I’m the only one working on it, I would really like some thorough testing and feedback.

Okay, so, how can I help?
Well, you can do several things, depending on what you like to do and how much time you can/will spend. First of all, I would suggest that you download XESame and try to extract an event log from data you have available. Then report back to me if XESame was useful and why (not).
XESame uses JDBC to connect to the data source. Since I can not test XESame on ‘all’ data source types out there, I’m interested in how it works on different types of data sources (e.g. different databases such as MySQL, Oracle, MS SQL, etc.)
Furthermore, if you encounter any errors, please let me know so I can try to fix them.
I’m also very interested in what features are missing and how XESame can provide better guidance in defining an extraction of event log data.

But I already looked at XESMa, do you need my help?
Well, yes, for two reasons: First, what did you think of XESMa when you tried it? Second: the graphical user interface of XESame is completely different from the (rudimentary and bloated) interface of XESMa. So I always need (and will appreciate) your help.

Okay, so how do I get started?
Good question (and I’m glad that you want to get started).

First of all, you need to download XESame of course and run it. Go to the ProM 6 BPM’10 release page and download the latest version of the framework and XESame. This should be under the section ‘Download’ or otherwise ‘History’.
For Windows users there is an xesame.exe file that you can start. For Mac/Linux/… users start the MainFrame class in the org.processminning.mapper.ui package from xesame.jar.
If you didn’t try XESame or XESMa before, it might be a good idea to read my Master’s thesis (PDF, 8Mb), especially chapters 5 and 6 with all the examples. (Not in any way suggesting that chapters 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 are not interesting to read of course.) Although the thesis talks about XESMa a lot, everything should also be applicable for XESame.
And if you’re really interested, look at the XESame source code via http://prom.win.tue.nl:8000/Tracsites/browser/public/XESame/src/org/processmining/mapper or point your SVN client to svn://prom.win.tue.nl/public/XESame (you can use “anonymous/anonymous” for anonymous access, although you cannot commit of course).

Once you’re done fiddling around or when you encounter a serious error or bug or get stuck, contact me and I’ll try to help you. The best way to contact me is to go to my employee page and see if you want to come by my office, give me a call or send me an e-mail (or contact me through Office Communicator on my tue mail address).
Unfortunately, I’m only human so on occasion I might be at the restroom, having lunch or even on holiday (from August 9 until (and including) 20).

So, even if you don’t plan to click on any of the above links, I would like to thank you for reading this post. I hope to hear from you soon and until next time,

Update 28-7-2010 16:50 (CET): I forgot to mention that the ‘official home’ of XESame is http://prom.win.tue.nl/research/wiki/xesame/start (I was too exited…).

Joos

P.S. huge disclaimer follows:
Please note that the author, the department or the university can not be held responsible for any damage caused by direct or indirect usage of XESame (or XESMa). It is recommended that XESame will only be provided read access to the data source and that you run XESame on a copy of the data an not on (the only instance of) the original data source. And of course, XESame is not extensively tested (yet) so it might do strange things to you or your computer. But rest assure, me and my computer survived all months of development.

Written by Joos Buijs

July 27, 2010 at 11:30

2 Important updates (maybe more)

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So, I’m settling nicely into my PhD life. Writing papers, starting up the CoSeLoG project, getting into contact with most of the participants in the project, never a dull moment!

Speaking of the CoSeLoG project, it now has its own, ‘official’, website: http://www.win.tue.nl/coselog. So far it does not contain much information but this will grow in the future (you can follow the RSS feed if you’re interested).

Another big change is the renaming of my XESMa application. Apparently, it can be pronounced like something completely different (which I did not think of). So, from today on, XESMa is renamed to XESame. Not like Sesame Street but Open Sesame of course! (since it will open the process mining cave where all kinds of treasury can be found…)

XESame has also been given a ‘real’ home, at processmining.org! So far the XESame page contains even less information than my blog post but when I find time I’ll add more explanations and examples. Furthermore, I plan to update the GUI of XESame, but CoSeLoG comes first…

So far so good, this was it for now, back to making contacts!

– Joos

Written by Joos Buijs

May 26, 2010 at 17:00

Process Mining: A quick overview of web resources on the subject

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Process mining is a hot research subject considering the large number of publications (see for instance Google Scholar and the full publication list of Wil van der Aalst).

Besides official publications there are of course less ‘official’ and less scientific writings about the subject. I was curious what I would find so I started a search on the world wide web…

The number 1 result is of course www.processmining.org, home of the well-known tools ProM and ProM Import developed at the TU/e. This website also explains the basics of process mining. A better introduction to the subject for ‘newbies’ might be the Wikipedia article on Process Mining.

Personally, I would put the LinkedIn group on Process Mining third. This group contains discussions on the subject and links to interesting (blog) posts are added. Another community around process mining is formed by the ProM-user and ProM-developer mailing lists. The ProM forum is not much used but has my personal preference above the (‘old fashioned’) mailing lists.

For those already more in to process mining the ‘IEEE task force on process mining’-wiki could be of interest. Extra tip: add the wiki changes RSS feed to your RSS reader 😉

Business people excited about the possibilities of process mining should visit the following websites of companies that support process mining (in no particular order or claim of completeness):

  • Futura Process Intelligence The first company specifically aimed at process mining, based in Eindhoven. Especially the ’14 day challenge’ should appeal.
  • Fluxicon Possibly the second company specifically aimed at process mining 😉 Also based in Eindhoven (must have a reason…). This ‘new kid on the block’ is one to keep your eye on, curious to see where they are say 2 years from now.
  • Surprisingly, the next company is also based in Eindhoven. MagnaView visualizes data and now also supports several process mining visualizations.
  • Process mining as a business has crossed the waters to Norway. Businesscape provides the ‘Enterprise Visualization Suite’ incorporating several process mining techniques.
  • Process mining is also incorporated in tools such as ARIS from IDS Scheer, BPM|One from Pallas Athena and Fujitsu’s ESI (although they call it Automated Process Discovery but its the same… (they disagree! but that’s not true…))
  • And of course I forgot many other great companies… (let me know in the comments!)

Next, blog posts. There are many of them ‘out there’, some of them even talk about process mining. A (very) small selection is provided below, no selection is made on quality or actuality.

Recently, I discovered that research on the subject of process mining is also spreading to Italy and its already spread to Germany, America and Australia.

Well, I hoped I provided at least a few pointers for further reading.

Joos

Edit 28-01-’10: corrected some small typing mistakes
Edit 30-07-’10: Entered the correct link to the IEEE TFPM *oops*

Written by Joos Buijs

January 22, 2010 at 17:58