A cluster centers initialization method for clustering categorical data

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8022-8029
Journal / PublicationExpert Systems with Applications
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


The leading partitional clustering technique, k-modes, is one of the most computationally efficient clustering methods for categorical data. However, the performance of the k-modes clustering algorithm which converges to numerous local minima strongly depends on initial cluster centers. Currently, most methods of initialization cluster centers are mainly for numerical data. Due to lack of geometry for the categorical data, these methods used in cluster centers initialization for numerical data are not applicable to categorical data. This paper proposes a novel initialization method for categorical data which is implemented to the k-modes algorithm. The method integrates the distance and the density together to select initial cluster centers and overcomes shortcomings of the existing initialization methods for categorical data. Experimental results illustrate the proposed initialization method is effective and can be applied to large data sets for its linear time complexity with respect to the number of data objects. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Research Area(s)

  • Density, Distance, Initial cluster centers, Initialization method, The k-modes algorithm

Citation Format(s)