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Data clustering has attracted a lot of research attention in the field of computational statistics and data mining. In most related studies, the dissimilarity between two clusters is defined as the distance between their centroids or the distance between two closest (or farthest) data points However, all of these measures are vulnerable to outliers and removing the outliers precisely is yet another difficult task. In view of this, we propose a new similarity measure, referred to as cohesion, to measure the intercluster distances. By using this new measure of cohesion, we have designed a two-phase clustering algorithm, called cohesion-based self-merging (abbreviated as CSM), which runs in time linear to the size of input data set. Combining the features of partitional and hierarchical clustering methods, algorithm CSM partitions the input data set into several small subclusters in the first phase and then continuously merges the subclusters based on cohesion in a hierarchical manner in the second phase. The time and the space complexities of algorithm CSM are analyzed. As shown by our performance studies, the cohesion-based clustering is very robust and possesses excellent tolerance to outliers in various workloads. More importantly, algorithm CSM is shown to be able to cluster the data sets of arbitrary shapes very efficiently and provide better clustering results than those by prior methods.
Knowledge and Data Engineering, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:17 , Issue: 2 )
Date of Publication: Feb. 2005