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Discriminant analysis (also called canonical variate analysis) is a standard method for testing the significance of previously-defined groups, identifying and describing which variables distinguish between groups, and producing a model to allocate new samples to a group. DA allows the relationship between groups of samples to be displayed graphically.

 

A goal of a discriminant analysis is to produce a simple function that, given the measurements of a number of variables, will classify an object into a known group. The point to note is that for DA you require pre-defined groups.