The SIMCLAS Model: Simultaneous Analysis of Coupled Binary Data Matrices with Noise Heterogeneity Between and Within Data Blocks

Tom F. Wilderjans, E. Ceulemans, I. van Mechelen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In many research domains different pieces of information are collected regarding the same set of objects. Each piece of information constitutes a data block, and all these (coupled) blocks have the object mode in common. When analyzing such data, an important aim is to obtain an overall picture of the structure underlying the whole set of coupled data blocks. A further challenge consists of accounting for the differences in information value that exist between and within (i. e., between the objects of a single block) data blocks. To tackle these issues, analysis techniques may be useful in which all available pieces of information are integrated and in which at the same time noise heterogeneity is taken into account. For the case of binary coupled data, however, only methods exist that go for a simultaneous analysis of all data blocks but that do not account for noise heterogeneity. Therefore, in this paper, the SIMCLAS model, being a Hierarchical Classes model for the simultaneous analysis of coupled binary two-way matrices, is presented. In this model, noise heterogeneity between and within the data blocks is accounted for by downweighting entries from noisy blocks/objects within a block. In a simulation study it is shown that (1) the SIMCLAS technique recovers the underlying structure of coupled data to a very large extent, and (2) the SIMCLAS technique outperforms a Hierarchical Classes technique in which all entries contribute equally to the analysis (i. e., noise homogeneity within and between blocks). The latter is also demonstrated in an application of both techniques to empirical data on categorization of semantic concepts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)724-740
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • coupled data
  • data fusion
  • Hierarchical Classes Analysis
  • hierarchical relations
  • multi-set data
  • multivariate binary data
  • noise heterogeneity
  • overlapping clustering
  • simultaneous clusterings


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