A new preference disaggregation method for clustering problem: DISclustering

  • Majid EsmaelianEmail author
  • Hadi Shahmoradi
  • Fateme Nemati
Methodologies and Application


Clustering, a famous technique in data analysis and data mining, attempts to find valuable patterns in datasets. In this technique, a set of alternatives is partitioned into logical groups which are called clusters. The partitioning is based on some predefined attributes to find clusters in which their alternatives are similar to each other comparing to other clusters. In conventional methods, the similarity is usually defined by a distance-based measurement, whereas in this study, we have proposed a new multi-attribute preference disaggregation method called DISclustering in which a new measurement named global utility is introduced for cluster similarity. In DISclustering, the global utility of each alternative is calculated through a feed-forward neural network in which its parameters are determined using SA algorithm. Each alternative is assigned to a cluster based on comparing the obtained global utility with cluster boundaries, called utility thresholds; aim to minimize the intra-cluster distances (ICD). For this purpose, all utility thresholds are estimated using PSO algorithm. The performance of the proposed method is compared with 18 clustering algorithms on 14 real datasets based on F-measure and object function values (ICD values using intra-cluster or Gower distances). The experimental results and hypothesis statistical test indicate that DISclustering algorithm significantly improved clustering results on F-measure criteria in which outperforms in almost 13 compared algorithms out of 18. Note that, DISclustering calculates cluster centroid in a different way comparing to other algorithms. Hence, its ICD values are less eligible to perform a fair comparison.


Clustering Particle swarm optimization (PSO) Simulated annealing (SA) Feed-forward neural network (FFNN) Multi-attribute preference disaggregation 



The authors would like to thank referees for their helpful comments.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this paper.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the author.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ManagementUniversity of IsfahanIsfahanIran
  2. 2.Department of Artificial Intelligence, Faculty of Computer EngineeringUniversity of IsfahanIsfahanIran

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