Model-based clustering, discriminant analysis, and density estimation. (English) Zbl 1073.62545

Summary: Cluster analysis is the automated search for groups of related observations in a dataset. Most clustering done in practice is based largely on heuristic but intuitively reasonable procedures, and most clustering methods available in commercial software are also of this type. However, there is little systematic guidance associated with these methods for solving important practical questions that arise in cluster analysis, such as how many clusters are there, which clustering method should be used, and how should outliers be handled. We review a general methodology for model-based clustering that provides a principled statistical approach to these issues. We also show that this can be useful for other problems in multivariate analysis, such as discriminant analysis and multivariate density estimation. We give examples from medical diagnosis, minefield detection, cluster recovery from noisy data, and spatial density estimation. Finally, we mention limitations of the methodology and discuss recent developments in model-based clustering for non-Gaussian data, high-dimensional datasets, large datasets, and Bayesian estimation.


62H30 Classification and discrimination; cluster analysis (statistical aspects)
62H12 Estimation in multivariate analysis
62G07 Density estimation
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