Chapter Contents |
Previous |
Next |

The CLUSTER Procedure |

One situation where analyzing non-Euclidean distance data can be
useful is when you have categorical data, where the distance data are
calculated using an association measure.
For more information, see Example 23.5.
The clustering methods available are average linkage, the
centroid method, complete linkage, density linkage (including
Wong's hybrid and *k*th-nearest-neighbor methods),
maximum likelihood for mixtures of spherical multivariate
normal distributions with equal variances but possibly unequal
mixing proportions, the flexible-beta method, McQuitty's
similarity analysis, the median method, single linkage,
two-stage density linkage, and Ward's minimum-variance method.
All methods are based on the usual agglomerative
hierarchical clustering procedure.
Each observation begins in a cluster by itself.
The two closest clusters are merged to form a
new cluster that replaces the two old clusters.
Merging of the two closest clusters is
repeated until only one cluster is left.
The various clustering methods differ in how
the distance between two clusters is computed.
Each method is described in
the section "Clustering Methods".

The CLUSTER procedure is not practical for very large data sets because, with most methods, the CPU time varies as the square or cube of the number of observations. The FASTCLUS procedure requires time proportional to the number of observations and can, therefore, be used with much larger data sets than PROC CLUSTER. If you want to cluster a very large data set hierarchically, you can use PROC FASTCLUS for a preliminary cluster analysis producing a large number of clusters and then use PROC CLUSTER to cluster the preliminary clusters hierarchically. This method is used to find clusters for the Fisher Iris data in Example 23.3, later in this chapter.

PROC CLUSTER displays a history of the clustering process, giving statistics useful for estimating the number of clusters in the population from which the data are sampled. PROC CLUSTER also creates an output data set that can be used by the TREE procedure to draw a tree diagram of the cluster hierarchy or to output the cluster membership at any desired level. For example, to obtain the six-cluster solution, you could first use PROC CLUSTER with the OUTTREE= option then use this output data set as the input data set to the TREE procedure. With PROC TREE, specify NCLUSTERS=6 and the OUT= options to obtain the six-cluster solution and draw a tree diagram. For an example, see Example 66.1 in Chapter 66, "The TREE Procedure."

Before you perform a cluster analysis on coordinate data, it is necessary to consider scaling or transforming the variables since variables with large variances tend to have more effect on the resulting clusters than those with small variances. The ACECLUS procedure is useful for performing linear transformations of the variables. You can also use the PRINCOMP procedure with the STD option, although in some cases it tends to obscure clusters or magnify the effect of error in the data when all components are retained. The STD option in the CLUSTER procedure standardizes the variables to mean 0 and standard deviation 1. Standardization is not always appropriate. See Milligan and Cooper (1987) for a Monte Carlo study on various methods of variable standardization. You should remove outliers before using PROC PRINCOMP or before using PROC CLUSTER with the STD option unless you specify the TRIM= option.

Nonlinear transformations of the variables may change the number of population clusters and should, therefore, be approached with caution. For most applications, the variables should be transformed so that equal differences are of equal practical importance. An interval scale of measurement is required if raw data are used as input. Ordinal or ranked data are generally not appropriate.

Agglomerative hierarchical clustering is discussed in all standard references on cluster analysis, for example, Anderberg (1973), Sneath and Sokal (1973), Hartigan (1975), Everitt (1980), and Spath (1980). An especially good introduction is given by Massart and Kaufman (1983). Anyone considering doing a hierarchical cluster analysis should study the Monte Carlo results of Milligan (1980), Milligan and Cooper (1985), and Cooper and Milligan (1988). Other essential, though more advanced, references on hierarchical clustering include Hartigan (1977, pp. 60 -68; 1981), Wong (1982), Wong and Schaack (1982), and Wong and Lane (1983). Refer to Blashfield and Aldenderfer (1978) for a discussion of the confusing terminology in hierarchical cluster analysis.

Chapter Contents |
Previous |
Next |
Top |

Copyright © 1999 by SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA. All rights reserved.