Deep Learning in Data Analytics: How to Extract Complex Patterns from Unstructured Data




Wissen Team


January 10, 2024

As per IDC, by 2025, nearly 80% of the global datasphere will be unstructured. Lurking underneath the turmoil of diverse and unorganized information is an extensive realm of potentially invaluable insights. This is where the craftsmanship and methodology of extracting patterns from unstructured data become pertinent.

In this digital era, where data is distributed as text, images, videos, sensor data, etc., detecting purposeful insights is analogous to finding a needle in a haystack. But it's necessary because, at the end of the day, these insights from intricate data patterns can pave the way for market and consumer understanding.

Think about it; you can unearth users' perceptions from social media updates, uncover disease trends from medical records, or estimate market alterations from assorted news stories.

Surely, it can prove daunting to extract complex patterns from unstructured data, but not when you adhere to a proven approach. Let's dive deep into the same in this article.

How to Extract Complex Patterns from Unstructured Data

Unstructured data can harbor invaluable knowledge. 


In the hands of skilled data scientists, this data can be mined to unearth valuable insights. This explains why organizations leverage unstructured data mining for rather sophisticated applications like fraud detection, credit scoring, supply chain optimization, market research, and predictive analytics.

However, the adoption of technologies needed for unstructured data mining is limited due to the perceived complexity of the techniques involved.

But Hugo Bowne-Anderson sums it perfectly in Harvard Business Review when he says, "Think about how the data was collected and what kind of data it is. That will help you understand its meaning, how much to trust it, and how much work needs to be done to convert it into a useful form."

That said, the following 10 steps can be easily followed to extract complex patterns from unstructured data, making the process accessible and achievable:

1. Data Collection and Preprocessing

At the start of your data mining saga with unstructured data, you should thoughtfully collect the particular type of unstructured data that needs to be studied. These can include varied forms such as text, images, audio, video, and others.

To develop an unfailing basis for the subsequent analysis, allocate effort to refining your data set. This encompasses an essential step of data pre-treatment, in which noise and irrelevant data are carefully taken out.

2. Choosing a Deep Learning Framework

Having collected and pre-processed your unstructured data, the following vital step is selecting a pertinent deep learning framework. Some prominent frameworks include TensorFlow, PyTorch, ONNX, MXNet, etc. These house various tools and libraries, which are specifically designed for creating and training sophisticated neural networks.

Deep Learning Frameworks – Interest Over Time

Utilizing these frameworks provides you with access to a collection of built-in functions and algorithms that make developing intricate models relevant to your data type faster and simpler.

3. Data Transformation

Having your preferred deep learning architecture ready to go, it is time to format your unstructured data in a way that is favorable for study. This transformation is vital for enabling deep learning models to understand the subtleties of your data.

As an example, if your data consists of textual information, you may use procedures such as word embeddings to change words into numerical vectors. This allows the model to comprehend the semantic connections between words, amplifying its capacity to detect patterns in the text.

Likewise, in cases where your data consists of images, you must convert these visuals into pixel arrays. The pixel-based representation permits the model to detect and recognize distinct features, shapes, and textures within the photos.

4. Model Selection

The ultimate outcome of your investigation of unstructured data stands or falls with your choice of deep learning model architecture.

If the data at hand is composed of text, then leveraging Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) or Transformer models is the way to go. The capabilities of these frameworks to evaluate strings of information come in handy for operations such as sentiment evaluation and language translation. We're already witnessing the immense prowess of transformer models with the rise of GPT-3, GPT-3.5, and GPT-4 — the large language models (LLMs) that power famous generative AI solutions like ChatGPT.

When dealing with image data, Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) are the obvious selection. These frameworks specialize in jobs associated with recognizing images by scrupulously recognizing designs, surfaces, and elements within perceptual inputs.

Besides, if your data includes sequences or chronology-based information, Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) systems and quite feasible. LSTM structures are adapted to seize temporal interdependencies, making them suitable for applications such as predicting stock prices or creating natural language.

5. Model Building

Now, outline the layers of your model. Utilizing deep learning, multiple layers are often employed, each responsible for a specific purpose. They pool their efforts to transform input data into valid predictions or classifications. Taking into consideration the data being used, select the suitable types of layers for your model architecture — convolutional layers are best suited for image data, while recurrent layers are best applied for sequential data.

Further, it's noteworthy that activation functions are quintessential for introducing non-linearity to the model. They permit it to apprehend intricate connections inside the raw material. ReLU (Rectified Linear Activation), for example, is a standard activation function. However, depending on the characteristics of your problem, you might want to consider substitutions like sigmoid or tanh functions.

When establishing the layers and activation functions of your model, take into account the parameters which will affect the learning procedure — learning rate, batch size, and optimization algorithms, among others. These must have the potential to markedly alter the training process and the resulting efficiency.

6. Training the Model

As the cornerstone of your deep learning model takes form, the training stage becomes a pivotal point to refine its predictive capacity. This essential phase involves exposing the model to your training dataset, empowering it to comprehend complex data connections and patterns.

In the course of this process, the model deduces from designated information representations in the preparation set. Through a multitude of repetitions, it adjusts its inner properties, for instance, weights and biases, to reduce forecasting slip-ups and strengthen accuracy.

7. Validation and Testing

This crucial stage verifies the model's ability to generalize effectively and make accurate predictions on new, unseen data.

To accomplish this, a distinct testing set is employed that is decoupled from the training and validation sets. This testing set replicates real-world situations, granting you the opportunity to gauge the model's effectiveness in scenarios that it has yet to experience.

By ascertaining the model's forecasts against the genuine outcomes in the testing set, you can measure its strength and its aptitude to detect intricate designs within disarranged data.

8. Interpretation of Results

Interpretation of results serves as a bridge between crude forecasts and profound understandings which can direct decision-making. It contorts the unclear outputs of the deep learning model into valuable knowledge, helping businesses capitalize on the patterns it has discerned.

So, investigating the model's predictions to assess the meaning of the unstructured data should definitely be a key focus. The core idea is that the analysis of the patterns, trends, and associations generated through the model should help data professionals gain insight into the invisible dynamics present in the data.

This effort requires visualization tools, statistical computations, and a thorough comprehension of the domain to interpret the consequences of the model's projections.


9. Iterating and Refining

As data analysts explore the convoluted topography of intricate formations, they can refine their strategies. In the event that the initial outcomes are insufficient or additional comprehension is desired, this step supplies the suppleness to explore preliminary phases and introduce the applicable corrections.

At its core, refining encompasses adapting a range of concepts, such as data preliminary functions, structure design decisions, and hyperparameters. It is akin to sharpening one's proficiency, wherein each iteration hones the research to be more precise and exact.

10. Monitoring and Maintaining

Continuous monitoring of the model's performance is essential to guarantee that it stays up-to-date and applicable over time. Unstructured data is, by nature, volatile, and configurations may change as supplemental data is incorporated. The potency of the results produced by the model hinges on its aptitude to adjust to these modifications.

Also, maintenance does not solely encompass technical tweaks. As the data landscape evolves, the environment in which the extracted knowledge is utilized could fluctuate as well. So, collaboration with domain experts can be of utter significance to sustain the underlying elements of a successful data analytics strategy.

Wrapping Up

Gathering and treating data, selecting an appropriate deep learning framework, converting data to formats machine learning models can understand, conceptualizing the proper model design, training it, and measuring its capability — every progression is a keystone toward uncovering patterns from unstructured data and paving the way for advanced analytics.

All these steps underscore the importance of profound technical prowess, something that a technology partner like Wissen can bring to the table. Connect with our experts today to learn more about how we can help you through this data transformation and analytics journey.