Weighted non-connectivity for detection of irregular clusters


Heuristics to detect irregularly shaped spatial clusters were reviewed recently. The spatial scan statistic is a widely used measure of the strength of clusters. However, other measures may also be useful, such as the geometric compactness penalty, the non-connectivity penalty and other measures based on graph topology and weak links.5,6 Those penalties p(z) are often coupled with the spatial scan statistic T(z), employing either the multiplicative formula maximization maxz T(z) ! p(z) or a multiobjective optimization procedure maxz(T(z), p(z)),3,6 or even a combination of both approaches. The geometric penalty of a cluster z is defined as the quotient of the area of z by the area of the circle, with the same perimeter as the convex hull of z, thus penalizing more the less rounded clusters. Now, let V and E be the vertices and edges sets, respectively, of the graph Gz(V, E) associated with the potential cluster z. The non-connectivity penalty y(z) is a function of the number of edges e(z) and the number of nodes n(z) of Gz(V, E), defined as y(z) ¼ e(z)/3[n(z)#2]. The less interconnected tree-shaped clusters are the most penalized. However, none of those two measures includes the effect of the individual populations.


Irregularly shaped clusters in maps divided into regions are very common in disease surveillance. However, they are difficult to delineate, and usually we notice a loss of power of detection. Several penalty measures for the excessive freedom of shape have been proposed to attack this problem, involving the geometry and graph topology of clusters. We present a novel topological measure that displays better performance in numerical tests.

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Event/Publication Date: 
December, 2010

June 27, 2019

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