Decision-Making Enhancement in a Big Data Environment: Application of the K-Means Algorithm to Mixed Data

Oded Koren 1 , Carina Antonia Hallin 2 , Nir Perel 1 ,  and Dror Bendet 1
  • 1 School of Industrial Engineering and Management, Shenkar - Engineering. Design. Art, , Ramat Gan, Israel
  • 2 Department of International Economics, Government and Business, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark


Big data research has become an important discipline in information systems research. However, the flood of data being generated on the Internet is increasingly unstructured and non-numeric in the form of images and texts. Thus, research indicates that there is an increasing need to develop more efficient algorithms for treating mixed data in big data for effective decision making. In this paper, we apply the classical K-means algorithm to both numeric and categorical attributes in big data platforms. We first present an algorithm that handles the problem of mixed data. We then use big data platforms to implement the algorithm, demonstrating its functionalities by applying the algorithm in a detailed case study. This provides us with a solid basis for performing more targeted profiling for decision making and research using big data. Consequently, the decision makers will be able to treat mixed data, numerical and categorical data, to explain and predict phenomena in the big data ecosystem. Our research includes a detailed end-to-end case study that presents an implementation of the suggested procedure. This demonstrates its capabilities and the advantages that allow it to improve the decision-making process by targeting organizations’ business requirements to a specific cluster[s]/profiles[s] based on the enhancement outcomes.

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