Soft Bootstrapping in Cluster Analysis and Its Comparison with Other Resampling Methods
The bootstrap approach is resampling taken with replacement from the original data. Here we consider sampling from the empirical distribution of a given data set in order to investigate the stability of results of cluster analysis. Concretely, the original bootstrap technique can be formulated by choosing the following weights of observations: m i = n, if the corresponding object i is drawn n times, and m i = 0, otherwise. We call the weights of observations masses. In this paper, we present another bootstrap method, called soft bootstrapping, that consists of random change of the “bootstrap masses” to some degree. Soft bootstrapping can be applied to any cluster analysis method that makes (directly or indirectly) use of weights of observations. This resampling scheme is especially appropriate for small sample sizes because no object is totally excluded from the soft bootstrap sample. At the end we compare different resampling techniques with respect to cluster analysis.
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