Learning a mixture model for clustering with the completed likelihood minimum message length criterion

Hong Zeng, Yiu Ming CHEUNG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Mixture model based clustering (also simply called model-based clustering hereinafter) consists of fitting a mixture model to data and identifying each cluster with one of its components. This paper tackles the model selection and parameter estimation problems in model-based clustering so as to improve the clustering performance on the data sets whose true kernel distribution functions are not in the family of assumed ones, as well as with inherently overlapped clusters. Being tailored to clustering applications, an effective model selection criterion is first proposed. Unlike most criteria that measure the goodness-of-fit of the model only to generate data, the proposed one also evaluates whether the candidate model provides a reasonable partition for the observed data, which enforces a model with well-separated components. Accordingly, an improved method for the estimation of mixture parameters is derived, which aims to suppress the spurious estimates by the standard expectation maximization (EM) algorithm and enforce well-supported components in the mixture model. Finally, the estimation of mixture parameters and the model selection is integrated in a single algorithm which favors a compact mixture model with both the well-supported and well-separated components. Extensive experiments on synthetic and real-world data sets are carried out to show the effectiveness of the proposed approach to the mixture model based clustering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2011-2030
Number of pages20
JournalPattern Recognition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Artificial Intelligence

User-Defined Keywords

  • Clustering
  • Completed likelihood
  • Finite mixture model
  • Minimum message length
  • Model selection


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