Advances in Data Analysis and Classification

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 637–656 | Cite as

A divisive clustering method for functional data with special consideration of outliers

  • Ana Justel
  • Marcela SvarcEmail author
Regular Article


This paper presents DivClusFD, a new divisive hierarchical method for the non-supervised classification of functional data. Data of this type present the peculiarity that the differences among clusters may be caused by changes as well in level as in shape. Different clusters can be separated in different subregion and there may be no subregion in which all clusters are separated. In each step of division, the DivClusFD method explores the functions and their derivatives at several fixed points, seeking the subregion in which the highest number of clusters can be separated. The number of clusters is estimated via the gap statistic. The functions are assigned to the new clusters by combining the k-means algorithm with the use of functional boxplots to identify functions that have been incorrectly classified because of their atypical local behavior. The DivClusFD method provides the number of clusters, the classification of the observed functions into the clusters and guidelines that may be for interpreting the clusters. A simulation study using synthetic data and tests of the performance of the DivClusFD method on real data sets indicate that this method is able to classify functions accurately.


Hierarchical clustering Functional boxplot Gap statistic 

Mathematics Subject Classification




We wish to thank the editors and four anonymous referees who have carefully reviewed the paper. Their suggestions and comments have helped us to improve the quality of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversidad Autònoma de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.UC3M-BS Institute of Financial Big DataUniversidad Carlos III de MadridMadridSpain
  3. 3.Department of Mathematics and SciencesUniversidad de San AndrésVictoriaArgentina
  4. 4.CONICETBuenos AiresArgentina

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