A Parametric Version of Probabilistic Distance Clustering

  • Christopher Rainey
  • Cristina Tortora
  • Francesco PalumboEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Studies in Classification, Data Analysis, and Knowledge Organization book series (STUDIES CLASS)


Probabilistic distance (PD) clustering method grounds on the basic assumption that the product between the probability of the unit belonging to a cluster and the distance between the unit and the cluster center is constant, for each statistical unit. This constant is a measure of the classificability of the point, and the sum of the constant over units is referred to as the joint distance function (JDF). The parameters that minimize the JDF maximize the classificability of the units. The goal of this paper is to introduce a new distance measure based on a probability density function, specifically, we use the multivariate Gaussian and Student-t distributions. We show using two simulated data sets that the use of a distance based on these two density functions improves the performance of PD clustering.


PD clustering Clustering algorithm Gaussian distribution Multivariate Student-t distribution 



The authors are very grateful to the two anonymous referees for their detailed and helpful comments to finalize the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Rainey
    • 1
  • Cristina Tortora
    • 1
  • Francesco Palumbo
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsSan José State UniversitySan JoseUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political SciencesUniversity of Naples Federico IINapoliItaly

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