Cluster Analysis

The term cluster analysis (first used by Tryon, 1939) actually encompasses a number of different classification algorithms which can be used to develop taxonomies (typically as part of exploratory data analysis). For example, biologists have to organize the different species of animals before a meaningful description of the differences between animals is possible. According to the modern system employed in biology, man belongs to the primates, the mammals, the amniotes, the vertebrates, and the animals. Note how in this classification, the higher the level of aggregation the less similar are the members in the respective class. Man has more in common with all other primates (e.g., apes) than it does with the more "distant" members of the mammals (e.g., dogs), etc. For information on specific types of cluster analysis methods, see Joining (Tree Clustering), Two-way Joining (Block Clustering), and K-means Clustering.

For more general information on Cluster Analysis, see the Cluster Analysis Overviews; see also Classification Trees.