21st September 2023: An Irish research paper is the fourth most cited paper in mathematics in the last ten years.

The paper, written by an international team including Professor Brendan Murphy of the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics at UCD,  Dr Michael Fop (UCD), Luca Scrucca (Perugia) and Prof. Adrian Raftery (U Washington), ranks fourth out of 515,477 papers on the Clarivate Analytics Web of Science (WoS) database, the world's leading scientific citation search and analytical information platform.

Published in 2016, the paper, entitled mclust 5: Clustering, Classification and Density Estimation Using Gaussian Finite Mixture Models describes mclust, a widely used software that provides tools for doing model-based clustering. Remarkably, the associated software has been downloaded 6.7 million times in the last five years, which is about once every five seconds.

Clustering is the grouping of objects based on their attributes and it can be argued that it as old as language itself. Model-based clustering is an approach to clustering that uses statistical modelling. It has applications in areas such as biology, medicine and the social sciences.

Professor Brendan Murphy said, “The number of citations is due to how popular the mclust software is globally. It is gratifying to see the impact it has had globally.” A book giving a comprehensive overview of the mclust software has been published by CRC Press.

Prof Adrian Raftery was the recipient of the SFI St Patrick’s Day Science Medal in 2017. Born in Dublin, Prof Adrian Raftery has been a leader in developing new Bayesian statistical methods for model selection and model averaging, as well as model-based clustering. He has worked on studies which have fundamentally changed our understanding of whaling populations, the prevalence of HIV/Aids, and weather forecasting.