Academy & Industry Research Collaboration Center (AIRCC)

Volume 11, Number 14, September 2021

Subtractive Mountain Clustering Algorithm Applied to a Chatbot
to Assist Elderly People in Medication Intake


Neuza Claro, Paulo A. Salgado, and T-P Azevedo Perdicoulis, Universidade de Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal


Errors in medication intake among elderly people are very common. One of the main causes for this is their loss of ability to retain information. The high amount of medicine intake required by the advanced age is another limiting factor. Thence, the design of an interactive aid system, preferably using natural language, to help the older population with medication is in demand. A chatbot based on a subtractive cluster algorithm, included in unsupervised learned models, is the chosen solution since the processing of natural languages is a necessary step in view to construct a chatbot able to answer questions that older people may pose upon themselves concerning a particular drug. In this work, the subtractive mountain clustering algorithm has been adapted to the problem of natural languages processing. This algorithm version allows for the association of a set of words into clusters. After finding the centre of every cluster — the most relevant word, all the others are aggregated according to a defined metric adapted to the language processing realm. All the relevant stored information is processed, as well as the questions, by the algorithm. The correct processing of the text enables the chatbot to produce answers that relate to the posed queries. To validate the method, we use the package insert of a drug as the available information and formulate associated questions.


chatbot, medicine intake aid system, natural language processing, subtractive mountain clustering.