Date of Award

Spring 1998

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering - (Ph.D.)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Rajesh N. Dave

Second Advisor

Sunil Kumar Dhar

Third Advisor

Rong-Yaw Chen

Fourth Advisor

Zhiming Ji

Fifth Advisor

M. C. Leu


Prototype based fuzzy clustering algorithms have unique ability to partition the data while detecting multiple clusters simultaneously. However since real data is often contaminated with noise, the clustering methods need to be made robust to be useful in practice. This dissertation focuses on robust detection of multiple clusters from noisy range images for object recognition. Dave's noise clustering (NC) method has been shown to make prototype-based fuzzy clustering techniques robust. In this work, NC is generalized and the new NC membership is shown to be a product of fuzzy c-means (FCM) membership and robust M-estimator weight (or possibilistic membership). Thus the generalized NC approach is shown to have the partitioning ability of FCM and robustness of M-estimators. Since the NC (or FCM) algorithms are based on fixed-point iteration technique, they suffer from the problem of initializations. To overcome this problem, the sampling based robust LMS algorithm is considered by extending it to fuzzy c-LMS algorithm for detecting multiple clusters. The concept of repeated evidence has been incorporated to increase the speed of the new approach. The main problem with the LMS approach is the need for ordering the distance data. To eliminate this problem, a novel sampling based robust algorithm is proposed following the NC principle, called the NLS method, that directly searches for clusters in the maximum density region of the range data without requiring the specification of number of clusters.

The NC concept is also introduced to several fuzzy methods for robust classification of relational data for pattern recognition. This is also extended to non-Euclidean relational data.

The resulting algorithms are used for object recognition from range images as well as for identification of bottleneck parts while creating desegregated cells of machine/ components in cellular manufacturing and group technology (GT) applications.