Biclustering meets triadic concept analysis
Biclustering numerical data became a popular data-mining task at the beginning of 2000’s, especially for gene expression data analysis and recommender systems. A bicluster reflects a strong association between a subset of objects and a subset of attributes in a numerical object/attribute data-table. So-called biclusters of similar values can be thought as maximal sub-tables with close values. Only few methods address a complete, correct and non-redundant enumeration of such patterns, a well-known intractable problem, while no formal framework exists. We introduce important links between biclustering and Formal Concept Analysis (FCA). Indeed, FCA is known to be, among others, a methodology for biclustering binary data. Handling numerical data is not direct, and we argue that Triadic Concept Analysis (TCA), the extension of FCA to ternary relations, provides a powerful mathematical and algorithmic framework for biclustering numerical data. We discuss hence both theoretical and computational aspects on biclustering numerical data with triadic concept analysis. These results also scale to n-dimensional numerical datasets.