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Clustering is a useful approach in image segmentation, data mining, and other pattern recognition problems for which unlabeled data exist. Fuzzy clustering using fuzzy c-means or variants of it can provide a data partition that is both better and more meaningful than hard clustering approaches. The clustering process can be quite slow when there are many objects or patterns to be clustered. This paper discusses the algorithm brFCM, which is able to reduce the number of distinct patterns which must be clustered without adversely affecting the partition quality. The reduction is done by aggregating similar examples and then using a weighted exemplar in the clustering process. The reduction in the amount of clustering data allows a partition of the data to be produced faster. The algorithm is applied to the problem of segmenting 32 magnetic resonance images into different tissue types and the problem of segmenting 172 infrared images into trees, grass and target. Average speed-ups of as much as 59-290 times a traditional implementation of fuzzy c-means were obtained using brFCM, while producing partitions that are equivalent to those produced by fuzzy c-means.