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Process Mining: Data science in Action

Shared by: by lars pijnappel on January 22, 2017: 14:47 CET


This MOOC is created by Professor Wil van der Aalst from the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

Following is an excerpt from the Coursera site

Process mining is the missing link between model-based process analysis and data-oriented analysis techniques. Through concrete data sets and easy to use software the course provides data science knowledge that can be applied directly to analyze and improve processes in a variety of domains.


The course explains the key analysis techniques in process mining. Participants will learn various process discovery algorithms. These can be used to automatically learn process models from raw event data. Various other process analysis techniques that use event data will be presented. Moreover, the course will provide easy-to-use software, real-life data sets, and practical skills to directly apply the theory in a variety of application domains.

This course starts with an overview of approaches and technologies that use event data to support decision making and business process (re)design. Then the course focuses on process mining as a bridge between data mining and business process modeling. The course is at an introductory level with various practical assignments. The course covers the three main types of process mining:

  1. The first type of process mining is discovery. A discovery technique takes an event log and produces a process model without using any a-priori information. An example is the Alpha-algorithm that takes an event log and produces a process model (a Petri net) explaining the behavior recorded in the log.
  2. The second type of process mining is conformance. Here, an existing process model is compared with an event log of the same process. Conformance checking can be used to check if reality, as recorded in the log, conforms to the model and vice versa.
  3. The third type of process mining is enhancement. Here, the idea is to extend or improve an existing process model using information about the actual process recorded in some event log. Whereas conformance checking measures the alignment between model and reality, this third type of process mining aims at changing or extending the a-priori model. An example is the extension of a process model with performance information, e.g., showing bottlenecks. Process mining techniques can be used in an offline, but also online setting. The latter is known as operational support. An example is the detection of non-conformance at the moment the deviation actually takes place. Another example is time prediction for running cases, i.e., given a partially executed case the remaining processing time is estimated based on historic information of similar cases.

Process mining provides not only a bridge between data mining and business process management; it also helps to address the classical divide between "business" and "IT". Evidence-based business process management based on process mining helps to create a common ground for business process improvement and information systems development.

The course uses many examples using real-life event logs to illustrate the concepts and algorithms. After taking this course, one is able to run process mining projects and have a good understanding of the Business Process Intelligence field.


More detailled information can be found at

Recommended use for teaching

This course is aimed at both students and professionals. A basic understanding of logic, sets, and statistics (at the undergraduate level) is assumed. Basic computer skills are required to use the software provided with the course (but no programming experience is needed). Participants are also expected to have an interest in process modeling and data mining but no specific prior knowledge is assumed as these concepts are introduced in the course.