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In this paper, a novel sequence equalizer, which belongs to the family of cluster-based sequence equalizers, is presented. The proposed algorithm achieves the maximum likelihood solution to the equalization problem in a fraction of computational load, compared with the classic maximum likelihood sequence estimation (MLSE) equalizers. The new method does not require the estimation of the channel impulse response. Instead, it utilizes the estimates of the cluster centers formed by the received observations. Furthermore, a new cluster center estimation scheme, which exploits the intrinsic dependencies among the cluster centers, is proposed. The new center estimation method exhibits enhanced performance with respect to convergence speed, compared with an LMS-based channel estimator. Moreover, this gain in performance is obtained at substantially lower computational load. The method is also extended in order to cope with nonlinear channels. The performance of the new equalizer is tested with several simulation examples, using both the quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK) and the 16-quadrature amplitude modulated (QAM) signaling schemes for linear and nonlinear communication channels.