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Determining Cluster Boundaries Using Particle Swarm Optimization

Authors: Anurag Sharma, Christian W. Omlin


Self-organizing map (SOM) is a well known data reduction technique used in data mining. Data visualization can reveal structure in data sets that is otherwise hard to detect from raw data alone. However, interpretation through visual inspection is prone to errors and can be very tedious. There are several techniques for the automatic detection of clusters of code vectors found by SOMs, but they generally do not take into account the distribution of code vectors; this may lead to unsatisfactory clustering and poor definition of cluster boundaries, particularly where the density of data points is low. In this paper, we propose the use of a generic particle swarm optimization (PSO) algorithm for finding cluster boundaries directly from the code vectors obtained from SOMs. The application of our method to unlabeled call data for a mobile phone operator demonstrates its feasibility. PSO algorithm utilizes U-matrix of SOMs to determine cluster boundaries; the results of this novel automatic method correspond well to boundary detection through visual inspection of code vectors and k-means algorithm.

Keywords: Particle swarm optimization, self-organizing maps, clustering, data mining.

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