Constrained classification: The use of a priori information in cluster analysis

Wayne S. DeSarbo, Vijay Mahajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


In many classification problems, one often possesses external and/or internal information concerning the objects or units to be analyzed which makes it appropriate to impose constraints on the set of allowable classifications and their characteristics. CONCLUS, or CONstrained CLUStering, is a new methodology devised to perform constrained classification in either an overlapping or nonoverlapping (hierarchical or nonhierarchial) manner. This paper initially reviews the related classification literature. A discussion of the use of constraints in clustering problems is then presented. The CONCLUS model and algorithm are described in detail, as well as their flexibility for use in various applications. Monte Carlo results are presented for two synthetic data sets with appropriate discussion of the resulting implications. An illustration of CONCLUS is presented with respect to a sales territory design problem where the objects classified are various Forbes-500 companies. Finally, the discussion section highlights the main contribution of the paper and offers some areas for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-215
Number of pages29
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1984

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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