What is the difference between machine learning, data analysis, data mining, data science and AI?


I am very much confused in understanding machine learning, data analysis, data mining, data science.
Where exactly they differ?



Here is a brief description of each of these terms:

  1. Data Science: Refers to the umbrella of techniques where you are trying to extract information and insights from data. This includes MIS reporting on the lowest level to building predictive models on the higher level.

  2. Data Mining: refers to the science of collecting all the past data and then searching for patterns in this data. You look for consistent patterns and / or relationships between variables. Once you find these insights, you validate the findings by applying the detected patterns to new subsets of data. The ultimate goal of data mining is prediction - and predictive data mining is the most common type of data mining and one that has the most direct business applications.

  3. Data Analysis: This is a loosely used term. People running reporting also say that they are analysing data and so do predictive modelers. I would just take this as any attempt to make sense of data can be called as data analysis.

  4. Machine learning - is the science of creating algorithms and program which learn on their own. Once designed, they do not need a human to become better. Some of the common applications of machine learning include following: Web Search, spam filters, recommender systems, ad placement, credit scoring, fraud detection, stock trading, computer vision and drug design. An easy way to understand is this - it is humanly impossible to create models for every possible search or spam, so you make the machine intelligent enough to learn by itself. When you automate the later part of data mining - it is known as machine learning.

Hope this helps a bit.



Thanks Kunal,

Things are almost clear to me now. I am exploring this field as I find it interesting.


@kunal Well explained Kunal.


@kunal Thanks for the glimpse of the terms!! I am little confused at the terms data mining( machine learning included) where we are building a model using historical data and the data analysis using the statistics where we are coming up with the solution for a problem using Statistics.

To be more precise my question: The learning steps and topics which has to be covered in data analysis, its uses from business point of view and the same for the machine learning ( as data mining is included in it).

It would be great help if the topics and understanding of Statistics would be given stress in details.



Fantastically written. To be honest I myself was not very clear on these terms & I’ve been in the field for 5 years now. Sometimes we tend to do complicated stuff & get tangled into it without knowing exactly what is what. Thanks a lot Kunal.


This site http://www.kdnuggets.com/2014/06/data-science-skills-business-problems.html and below diagram would be able to answer your question in detail.


thank u very much kunal.


Thanks a lot for this article.Really helpful


Excellent explanation @kunal ! Could you also mention where does AI come into the picture?