An overlapping cluster algorithm to provide non-exhaustive clustering

Yen Liang Chen, Hui Ling Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The partitioning clustering is a technique to classify n objects into k disjoint clusters, and has been developed for years and widely used in many applications. In this paper, a new overlapping cluster algorithm is defined. It differs from traditional clustering algorithms in three respects. First, the new clustering is overlapping, because clusters are allowed to overlap with one another. Second, the clustering is non-exhaustive, because an object is permitted to belong to no cluster. Third, the goals considered in this research are the maximization of the average number of objects contained in a cluster and the maximization of the distances among cluster centers, while the goals in previous research are the maximization of the similarities of objects in the same clusters and the minimization of the similarities of objects in different clusters. Furthermore, the new clustering is also different from the traditional fuzzy clustering, because the object-cluster relationship in the new clustering is represented by a crisp value rather than that represented by using a fuzzy membership degree. Accordingly, a new overlapping partitioning cluster (OPC) algorithm is proposed to provide overlapping and non-exhaustive clustering of objects. Finally, several simulation and real world data sets are used to evaluate the effectiveness and the efficiency of the OPC algorithm, and the outcomes indicate that the algorithm can generate satisfactory clustering results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)762-780
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 16 Sep 2006


  • Data mining
  • Non-exhaustive clustering
  • Overlapping clusters
  • Partitioning clustering


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