Comma question

Subject: Comma question
From: Karen Felker <akaren -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: Tech Writers <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2013 09:28:27 -0700

A reviewer is disputing my use of a comma in this sentence that describes a clustering algorithm: "Assigns numbers to actors and events, based on natural groups called clusters."

I want to defend this comma, but I'm not sure how to do that. Does "based" introduce an adverbial phrase, because it describes the assigning process?
I find it confusing to change the sentence to say "Assigns numbers, based on natural groups called clusters, to actors and events."
Same with this rewrite: "Assigns numbers to actors and events. The numbers are based on natural groups called clusters."

Karen Felker
akaren -at- earthlink -dot- net

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