### An Alternative Extension of the K-Means Algorithm for Clustering Medical Data

#### Abstract

Data clustering is a very powerful technique in many application areas. Not only may the clusters have meaning themselves, but clustering allows for efficient data management techniques in that data that is grouped in the same manner will usually be accessed together. Access to data within a cluster may predict that other data in that cluster will be accessed soon; this can lead to optimized storage strategies which perform much better than if the data were randomly stored.

Most of the earlier work on clustering has mainly been focused on numerical data whose inherent geometric properties can be exploited to naturally define distance functions between data points. Recently, the problem of clustering categorical data has started drawing interest. However, the computational cost makes most of the previous algorithms unacceptable for clustering very large databases. The k-means algorithm is well known for its efficiency in this respect. At the same time, working only on numerical data prohibits them from being used for clustering categorical data. The main contribution of this is to show how to apply the notion of “cluster centers” on a dataset of categorical objects and how to use this notion for formulating the clustering problem of categorical objects as a partitioning problem. Finally, a k-means-like algorithm for clustering categorical data is introduced. The clustering performance of the algorithm is demonstrated with well-known medicine data sets

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