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Open AccessArticle

A Clustering Method Based on the Maximum Entropy Principle

Instituto de Investigaciones en Matemáticas Aplicadas y en Sistemas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, 04510 Ciudad de México, Mexico
Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, Río Hondo 1. Col. Progreso Tizapán, 01080 Ciudad de México, Mexico
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Entropy 2015, 17(1), 151-180;
Received: 6 October 2014 / Accepted: 26 December 2014 / Published: 7 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Information Theory, Probability and Statistics)
Clustering is an unsupervised process to determine which unlabeled objects in a set share interesting properties. The objects are grouped into k subsets (clusters) whose elements optimize a proximity measure. Methods based on information theory have proven to be feasible alternatives. They are based on the assumption that a cluster is one subset with the minimal possible degree of “disorder”. They attempt to minimize the entropy of each cluster. We propose a clustering method based on the maximum entropy principle. Such a method explores the space of all possible probability distributions of the data to find one that maximizes the entropy subject to extra conditions based on prior information about the clusters. The prior information is based on the assumption that the elements of a cluster are “similar” to each other in accordance with some statistical measure. As a consequence of such a principle, those distributions of high entropy that satisfy the conditions are favored over others. Searching the space to find the optimal distribution of object in the clusters represents a hard combinatorial problem, which disallows the use of traditional optimization techniques. Genetic algorithms are a good alternative to solve this problem. We benchmark our method relative to the best theoretical performance, which is given by the Bayes classifier when data are normally distributed, and a multilayer perceptron network, which offers the best practical performance when data are not normal. In general, a supervised classification method will outperform a non-supervised one, since, in the first case, the elements of the classes are known a priori. In what follows, we show that our method’s effectiveness is comparable to a supervised one. This clearly exhibits the superiority of our method. View Full-Text
Keywords: clustering; Shannon’s entropy; genetic algorithms clustering; Shannon’s entropy; genetic algorithms
MDPI and ACS Style

Aldana-Bobadilla, E.; Kuri-Morales, A. A Clustering Method Based on the Maximum Entropy Principle. Entropy 2015, 17, 151-180.

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