Data mining is an interdisciplinary field, the confluence of a set of disciplines, including database systems, statistics, machine learning, visualization, and information science. 

Moreover, depending on the data mining approach used, techniques from other disciplines may be applied, such as neural networks, fuzzy and/or rough set theory, knowledge representation, inductive logic programming, or high-performance computing.

Depending on the kinds of data to be mined or on the given data mining application, the data mining system may also integrate techniques from spatial data analysis, information retrieval, pattern recognition, image analysis, signal processing, computer graphics, Web technology, economics, business, bioinformatics, or psychology.

Data mining systems can be categorized according to various criteria, as follows:

1. According to the kinds of databases mined:

A data mining system can be classified according to the kinds of databases mined. Database systems can be classified according to different criteria (such as data models, or the types of data or applications involved), each of which may require its own data mining technique. Data mining systems can therefore be classified accordingly.

2. According to the kinds of knowledge mined:

Data mining systems can be categorized according to the kinds of knowledge they mine, that is, based on data mining functionalities, such as characterization, discrimination, association and correlation analysis, classification, prediction, clustering, outlier analysis, and evolution analysis.

A comprehensive data mining system usually provides multiple and/or integrated data mining functionalities.

3. According to the kinds of techniques utilized:

Data mining systems can be categorized according to the underlying data mining techniques employed.

These techniques can be described according to the degree of user interaction involved (e.g., autonomous systems, interactive exploratory systems, query-driven systems) or the methods of data analysis employed (e.g., database-oriented or data warehouse– oriented techniques, machine learning, statistics, visualization, pattern recognition, neural networks, and so on).

A sophisticated data mining system will often adopt multiple data mining techniques or work out an effective, integrated technique that combines the merits of a few individual approaches.

4. According to the applications adapted

Data mining systems can also be categorized according to the applications they adapt.

For example, data mining systems may be tailored specifically for finance, telecommunications, DNA, stock markets, e-mail, and so on.

Different applications often require the integration of application-specific methods. Therefore, a generic, all-purpose data mining system may not fit domain-specific mining tasks.