Journal of Classification

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 99-121

First online:

Initializing K-means Batch Clustering: A Critical Evaluation of Several Techniques

  • Douglas SteinleyAffiliated withUniversity of Missouri-Columbia
  • , Michael J. BruscoAffiliated withUniversity of Florida

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K-means clustering is arguably the most popular technique for partitioning data. Unfortunately, K-means suffers from the well-known problem of locally optimal solutions. Furthermore, the final partition is dependent upon the initial configuration, making the choice of starting partitions all the more important. This paper evaluates 12 procedures proposed in the literature and provides recommendations for best practices.