Reference work entry
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The K-means clustering algorithm is sensitive to outliers, because a mean is easily influenced by extreme values. K-medoids clustering is a variant of K-means that is more robust to noises and outliers. Instead of using the mean point as the center of a cluster, K-medoids uses an actual point in the cluster to represent it. Medoid is the most centrally located object of the cluster, with minimum sum of distances to other points. Figure 1 shows the difference between mean and medoid in a 2-D example. The group of points in the right form a cluster, while the rightmost point is an outlier. Mean is greatly influenced by the outlier and thus cannot represent the correct cluster center, while medoid is robust to the outlier and correctly represents the cluster center.
- Kaufman, L., & Rousseeuw, P. J. (2005). Finding groups in data: An introduction to cluster analysis (Wiley series in probability and statistics). New York: Wiley-Interscience.Google Scholar
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