On the Minimum Description Length (MDL) Principle for Hierarchical Classifications

  • Peter G. Bryant
Conference paper
Part of the Studies in Classification, Data Analysis, and Knowledge Organization book series (STUDIES CLASS)


Hierarchical clustering procedures such as single-, average-, or complete-link procedures produce a series of groupings of the data arranged in the form of a hierarchy, or tree structure. In most cases, the choice of where to “cut” the tree is left to the user. Occasional formal guidelines have usually been based on ideas of random sampling, but that assumption is often violated in the contexts in which cluster analysis is used. This paper explores the application of Rissanen’s MDL principle to derive possible guidelines for cutting the tree. These guidelines do not assume random sampling.


Complete Linkage Minimum Description Length Aggregation Criterion Hierarchical Method Penalize Maximum Likelihood 
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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter G. Bryant
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Business AdministrationUniversity of Colorado at DenverDenverUSA

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