Enhanced visual analysis for cluster tendency assessment and data partitioning

Liang Wang, Xin Geng, James Bezdek, Christopher Leckie, Kotagiri Ramamohanarao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Visual methods have been widely studied and used in data cluster analysis. Given a pairwise dissimilarity matrix \schmi D of a set of n objects, visual methods such as the VAT algorithm generally represent \schmi D as an n\times n image \rm I (\tilde \schmi D ) where the objects are reordered to reveal hidden cluster structure as dark blocks along the diagonal of the image. A major limitation of such methods is their inability to highlight cluster structure when \schmi D contains highly complex clusters. This paper addresses this limitation by proposing a Spectral VAT algorithm, where \schmi D is mapped to \schmi D ^ \prime in a graph embedding space and then reordered to \tilde \schmi D ^ \prime using the VAT algorithm. A strategy for automatic determination of the number of clusters in \rm I ( \tilde \schmi D ^ \prime ) is then proposed, as well as a visual method for cluster formation from \rm I ( \tilde \schmi D ^ \prime ) based on the difference between diagonal blocks and off-diagonal blocks. A sampling-based extended scheme is also proposed to enable visual cluster analysis for large data sets. Extensive experimental results on several synthetic and real-world data sets validate our algorithms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1401 - 1414
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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