In this paper we formulate a least squares version of the recently proposed twin support vector machine (TSVM) for binary classification. This formulation leads to extremely simple and fast algorithm for generating binary classifiers based on two non-parallel hyperplanes. Here we attempt to solve two modified primal problems of TSVM, instead of two dual problems usually solved. We show that the solution of the two modified primal problems reduces to solving just two systems of linear equations as opposed to solving two quadratic programming problems along with two systems of linear equations in TSVM. Classification using nonlinear kernel also leads to systems of linear equations. Our experiments on publicly available datasets indicate that the proposed least squares TSVM has comparable classification accuracy to that of TSVM but with considerably lesser computational time. Since linear least squares TSVM can easily handle large datasets, we further went on to investigate its efficiency for text categorization applications. Computational results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method over linear proximal SVM on all the text corpuses considered. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.