Robust fuzzy clustering of relational data

Rajesh N. Davé, Sumit Sen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


Popular relational-data clustering algorithms, relational dual of fuzzy c-means (RFCM), non-Euclidean RFCM (NERFCM) (both by Hathaway et al.), and FANNY (by Kaufman and Rousseeuw) are examined. A new algorithm, which is a generalization of FANNY, called the fuzzy relational data clustering (FRC) algorithm, is introduced, having an identical objective functional as RFCM. However, the FRC does not have the restriction of RFCM, which is that the relational data is derived from Euclidean distance as the measure of dissimilarity between the objects, and it also does not have limitations of FANNY, including the use of a fixed membership exponent, or a fuzzifier exponent, m. The FRC algorithm is further improved by incorporating the concept of Dave's object data noise clustering (NC) algorithm, done by proposing a concept of noise-dissimilarity. Next, based on the constrained minimization, which includes an inequality constraint for the memberships and corresponding Kuhn-Tucker conditions, a noise resistant, FRC algorithm is derived which works well for all types of non-Euclidean dissimilarity data. Thus it is shown that the extra computations for data expansion (β-spread transformation) required by the NERFCM algorithm are not necessary. This new algorithm is called robust non-Euclidean fuzzy relational data clustering (robust-NE-FRC), and its robustness is demonstrated through several numerical examples. Advantages of this new algorithm are: faster convergence, robustness against outliers, and ability to handle all kinds of relational data, including non-Euclidean. The paper also presents a new and better interpretation of the noise-class.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)713-727
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Fuzzy clustering
  • Noise clustering
  • Relational data classification
  • Robust clustering


Dive into the research topics of 'Robust fuzzy clustering of relational data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this