10.6 Evaluation of Clustering

By now you have learned what clustering is and know several popular clustering methods. You may ask, “When I try out a clustering method on a data set, how can I evaluate whether the clustering results are good?” In general, cluster evaluation assesses the feasibility of clustering analysis on a data set and the quality of the results generated by a clustering method. The major tasks of clustering evaluation include the following:

■ Assessing clustering tendency. In this task, for a given data set, we assess whether a nonrandom structure exists in the data. Blindly applying a clustering method on a data set will return clusters; however, the clusters mined may be misleading. Clustering analysis on a data set is ...

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