Microsoft announced the beta release of the OLE DB for Data Mining specification, a SQL-based protocol that provides an open interface for integrating data-mining capabilities into line-of-business and e-commerce applications. OLE DB for Data Mining extends the SQL language syntax to make data-mining capabilities available to any business analyst or developer, without the need for specialized data-mining skills. Leading data-mining and business-intelligence (BI) vendors support the new protocol, which will let diverse data-mining products more easily exchange data and results and let developers more easily incorporate data-mining technology into existing data-warehousing solutions. Supporting vendors include ANGOSS Software Corporation, AppSource Corporation, Comshare Inc., DB Miner Technology Inc., Knosys Inc., Magnify Inc., Megaputer Intelligence Inc., Maximal Innovative Intelligence Ltd., NCR Corporation, PolyVista Inc., and SPSS Inc. "Release of the OLE DB for Data Mining specification is a significant milestone on the path to much wider use of predictive and descriptive analytic models by commercial applications," says Stephen Brobst, chief technology officer for NCR's Teradata Solutions Group. Vendors have been reviewing and suggesting modifications to OLE DB for Data Mining since Microsoft introduced it in May 1999. The specification now incorporates the Predictive Model Markup Language (PMML) standards from the Data Mining Group, an industry consortium that facilitates creation of useful standards for the data-mining community. PMML, based on XML, lets organizations efficiently define and share data-mining models between compliant vendors’ applications. "By incorporating the PMML standard, Microsoft has further strengthened an open specification for bringing data mining into analytical applications," says Jack Noonan, SPSS president and CEO.