Ward's Hierarchical Agglomerative Clustering Method: Which Algorithms Implement Ward's Criterion?

Fionn Murtagh, Pierre Legendre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Ward error sum of squares hierarchical clustering method has been very widely used since its rst description by Ward in a 1963 publication. It has also been generalized in various ways. Two algorithms are found in the literature and software, both announcing that they implement the Ward clustering method. When applied to the same distance matrix, they produce dierent results. One algorithm preserves Ward's criterion, the other does not. Our survey work and case studies will be useful for all those involved in developing software for data analysis using Ward's hierarchical clustering method.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Classification
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2013

Cite this