Fuzzy Clustering to Identify Clusters at Different Levels of Fuzziness: An Evolutionary Multiobjective Optimization Approach

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Research Article

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IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics


Fuzzy clustering methods identify naturally occurring clusters in a dataset, where the extent to which different clusters are overlapped can differ. Most methods have a parameter to fix the level of fuzziness. However, the appropriate level of fuzziness depends on the application at hand. This paper presents an entropy c-means (ECM), a method of fuzzy clustering that simultaneously optimizes two contradictory objective functions, resulting in the creation of fuzzy clusters with different levels of fuzziness. This allows ECM to identify clusters with different degrees of overlap. ECM optimizes the two objective functions using two multiobjective optimization methods, nondominated sorting genetic algorithm II (NSGA-II) and multiobjective evolutionary algorithm based on decomposition (MOEA/D). We also propose a method to select a suitable tradeoff clustering from the Pareto front. Experiments on challenging synthetic datasets as well as real-world datasets show that ECM leads to better cluster detection compared to the conventional fuzzy clustering methods as well as previously used multiobjective methods for fuzzy clustering.

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Open Access, Green

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