Journal of Classification

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 249–277 | Cite as

The Remarkable Simplicity of Very High Dimensional Data: Application of Model-Based Clustering



An ultrametric topology formalizes the notion of hierarchical structure. An ultrametric embedding, referred to here as ultrametricity, is implied by a hierarchical embedding. Such hierarchical structure can be global in the data set, or local. By quantifying extent or degree of ultrametricity in a data set, we show that ultrametricity becomes pervasive as dimensionality and/or spatial sparsity increases. This leads us to assert that very high dimensional data are of simple structure. We exemplify this finding through a range of simulated data cases. We discuss also application to very high frequency time series segmentation and modeling.


Multivariate data analysis Cluster analysis Hierarchy Ultrametric p-Adic Dimensionality 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Science Foundation IrelandDublin 4Ireland
  2. 2.Department of Computer Science, Royal HollowayUniversity of LondonEghamEngland

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