PASCAL - Pattern Analysis, Statistical Modelling and Computational Learning

A PAC-Bayesian Approach to Formulation of Clustering Objectives
Yevgeny Seldin and Naftali Tishby
In: Clustering: Science or Art? Towards Principled Approaches (NIPS 2009 Workshop), 11 Dec 2009, Whistler, BC, Canada.

Abstract

Clustering is a widely used tool for exploratory data analysis. However, the theoretical understanding of clustering is very limited. We still do not have a well-founded answer to the seemingly simple question of “how many clusters are present in the data?”, and furthermore a formal comparison of clusterings based on different optimization objectives is far beyond our abilities. The lack of good theoretical support gives rise to multiple heuristics that confuse the practitioners and stall development of the field. We suggest that the ill-posed nature of clustering problems is caused by the fact that clustering is often taken out of its subsequent application context. We argue that one does not cluster the data just for the sake of clustering it, but rather to facilitate the solution of some higher level task. By evaluation of the clustering’s contribution to the solution of the higher level task it is possible to compare different clusterings, even those obtained by different optimization objectives. In the preceding work it was shown that such an approach can be applied to evaluation and design of co-clustering solutions. Here we suggest that this approach can be extended to other settings, where clustering is applied.

PDF - Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader or other PDF viewer.
EPrint Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Project Keyword:Project Keyword UNSPECIFIED
Subjects:Computational, Information-Theoretic Learning with Statistics
Learning/Statistics & Optimisation
Theory & Algorithms
ID Code:5960
Deposited By:Yevgeny Seldin
Deposited On:08 March 2010