2002 SurveyOfClusteringDMTechniques

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Subject Headings: Clustering Algorithm, Survey Paper, k-Medoids, k-Means.

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Abstract

Clustering is the division of data into groups of similar objects. In clustering, some details are disregarded in exchange for data simplification. Clustering can be viewed as a data modeling technique that provides for concise summaries of the data. Clustering is therefore related to many disciplines and plays an important role in a broad range of applications. The applications of clustering usually deal with large datasets and data with many attributes. Exploration of such data is a subject of data mining. This survey concentrates on clustering algorithms from a data mining perspective.

1 Introduction

We provide a comprehensive review of different clustering techniques in data mining. Clustering refers to the division of data into groups of similar objects. Each group, or cluster, consists of objects that are similar to one another and dissimilar to objects in other groups. When representing a quantity of data with a relatively small number of clusters, we achieve some simplification, at the price of some loss of detail (as in lossy data compression, for example). Clustering is a form of data modeling, which puts it in a historical perspective rooted in mathematics and statistics. From a machine learning perspective, clusters correspond to hidden patterns, the search for clusters is unsupervised learning, and the resulting system represents a data concept. Therefore, clustering is unsupervised learning of a hidden data concept. Clustering as applied to data mining applications encounters three additional complications: (a) large databases, (b) objects with many attributes, and (c) attributes of different types. These complications tend to impose severe computational requirements that present real challenges to classic clustering algorithms. These challenges led to the emergence of powerful broadly applicable data mining clustering methods developed on the foundation of classic techniques. These clustering methods are the subject of this survey.

1.1 Notations

To fix the context and clarify terminology, consider a dataset X consisting of data points (which may in turn represent objects, instances, cases, patterns, tuples, transactions, and so forth) x_i = (x_i1, . . ., x_id), i = 1 : [math]N[/math], in attribute space [math]A[/math], where each component x_il ∈ A_l, l = 1 : [math]d[/math], is a numerical or a nominal categorical attribute (which may represent a feature, variable, dimension, component, or field). For a discussion of attribute data types see [Han & Kamber 2001]. This point-by-attribute data format conceptually corresponds to an [math]N[/math] × [math]d[/math] matrix and is used by the majority of algorithms reviewed later. However, data of other formats, such as variable length sequences and heterogeneous data, are not uncommon.

The simplest subset in an attribute space is a direct Cartesian product of subranges C = MUL C_l ⊂ A, Cl ⊂ A_l, called a segment (or a cube, cell, or region). A unit is an elementary segment whose subranges consist of a single category value or a small numerical bin. Describing the number of data points per unit represents an extreme case of clustering, a histogram. The histogram is a very expensive representation and not a very revealing one. User-driven segmentation is another commonly used practice in data exploration that utilizes expert knowledge regarding the importance of certain subdomains. Unlike segmentation, clustering is assumed to be automatic, and so it is unsupervised in the machine learning sense.

The goal of clustering is to assign data points to a finite system of [math]k[/math] subsets (clusters). These subsets do not intersect (however, this requirement is sometimes violated in practice), and their union is equal to the full dataset with the possible exception of outliers

1.2 Plan of Further Presentation

For the reader’s convenience we provide a classification of clustering algorithms closely followed by this survey:

  • Hierarchical methods
    • Agglomerative algorithms
    • Divisive algorithms
  • Partitioning relocation methods
    • Probabilistic clustering
    • k-medoids methods
    • k-means methods
  • Density-based partitioning methods
    • Density-based connectivity clustering
    • Density functions clustering
  • Grid-based methods
  • Methods based on co-occurrence of categorical data
  • Other clustering techniques
    • Constraint-based clustering
    • Graph partitioning
    • Clustering algorithms and supervised learning
    • Clustering algorithms in machine learning
  • Scalable clustering algorithms
  • Algorithms for high-dimensional data
    • Subspace clustering
    • Coclustering techniques

1.3 Important Issues

The properties of clustering algorithms of concern in data mining include:

  • Type of attributes an algorithm can handle
  • Scalability to large datasets
  • Ability to work with high-dimensional data
  • Ability to find clusters of irregular shape
  • Handling outliers
  • Time complexity (we often simply use the term complexity)
  • Data order dependency
  • Labeling or assignment (hard or strict vs. soft or fuzzy)
  • Reliance on a priori knowledge and user-defined parameters
  • Interpretability of results

2 Hierarchical Clusters of Arbitrary Shapes

For spatial data, linkage metrics based on Euclidean distance naturally generate clusters of convex shapes. Meanwhile, visual inspection of spatial images frequently reveals clusters with more complex shapes.

Guha et al. [207] introduced the hierarchical agglomerative clustering algorithm CURE (Clustering Using REpresentatives). This algorithm has a number of novel and important features. CURE takes special steps to handle outliers and to provide labeling in the assignment stage. It also uses two techniques to achieve scalability: data sampling (Sect. 8), and data partitioning. CURE creates p partitions, so that fine granularity clusters are constructed in partitions first. A major feature of CURE is that it represents a cluster by a fixed number, c, of points scattered around it. The distance between two clusters used in the agglomerative process is the minimum of distances between two scattered representatives. Therefore, CURE takes a middle approach between the graph (all-points) methods and the geometric (one centroid) methods. Single link and average link closeness are replaced by representatives’ aggregate closeness. Selecting representatives scattered around a cluster makes it possible to cover nonspherical shapes. As before, agglomeration continues until the requested number k of clusters is achieved. CURE employs one additional trick: originally selected scattered points are shrunk to the geometric centroid of the cluster by a user-specified factor α. Shrinkage decreases the impact of outliers; outliers happen to be located further from the cluster centroid than the other scattered representatives. CURE is capable of finding clusters of different shapes and sizes. Because CURE uses sampling, estimation of its complexity is not straightforward. For low-dimensional data, Guha et al. provide a complexity estimate of O(N2 sample) defined in terms of the sample size. More exact bounds depend on the input parameters, which include the shrink factor </math>α</math>, the number of representative points c, the number of partitions p, as well as the sample size. Figure 1a illustrates agglomeration in CURE. Three clusters, each with three representatives, are shown before and after the merge and shrinkage. The two closest representatives are connected.

While the CURE algorithm works with numerical attributes (particularly low-dimensional spatial data),...

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 AuthorvolumeDate ValuetitletypejournaltitleUrldoinoteyear
2002 SurveyOfClusteringDMTechniquesPavel BerkhinA Survey of Clustering Data Mining Techniqueshttp://www.springerlink.com/content/x321256p66512121/2002