Techniques for Weighted Clustering Ensembles

Techniques for Weighted Clustering Ensembles

Carlotta Domeniconi (George Mason University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-010-3.ch293
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In an effort to achieve improved classifier accuracy, extensive research has been conducted in classifier ensembles. Very recently, cluster ensembles have emerged. It is well known that off-the-shelf clustering methods may discover different structures in a given set of data. This is because each clustering algorithm has its own bias resulting from the optimization of different criteria. Furthermore, there is no ground truth against which the clustering result can be validated. Thus, no cross-validation technique can be carried out to tune input parameters involved in the clustering process. As a consequence, the user is not equipped with any guidelines for choosing the proper clustering method for a given dataset. Cluster ensembles offer a solution to challenges inherent to clustering arising from its ill-posed nature. Cluster ensembles can provide more robust and stable solutions by leveraging the consensus across multiple clustering results, while averaging out emergent spurious structures that arise due to the various biases to which each participating algorithm is tuned. In this chapter, we discuss the problem of combining multiple weighted clusters, discovered by a locally adaptive algorithm (Domeniconi, Papadopoulos, Gunopulos, & Ma, 2004) which detects clusters in different subspaces of the input space. We believe that our approach is the first attempt to design a cluster ensemble for subspace clustering (Al-Razgan & Domeniconi, 2006). Recently, several subspace clustering methods have been proposed (Parsons, Haque, & Liu, 2004). They all attempt to dodge the curse of dimensionality which affects any algorithm in high dimensional spaces. In high dimensional spaces, it is highly likely that, for any given pair of points within the same cluster, there exist at least a few dimensions on which the points are far apart from each other. As a consequence, distance functions that equally use all input features may not be effective. Furthermore, several clusters may exist in different subspaces comprised of different combinations of features. In many real-world problems, some points are correlated with respect to a given set of dimensions, while others are correlated with respect to different dimensions. Each dimension could be relevant to at least one of the clusters. Global dimensionality reduction techniques are unable to capture local correlations of data. Thus, a proper feature selection procedure should operate locally in input space. Local feature selection allows one to embed different distance measures in different regions of the input space; such distance metrics reflect local correlations of data. In (Domeniconi, Papadopoulos, Gunopulos, & Ma, 2004) we proposed a soft feature selection procedure (called LAC) that assigns weights to features according to the local correlations of data along each dimension. Dimensions along which data are loosely correlated receive a small weight, which has the effect of elongating distances along that dimension. Features along which data are strongly correlated receive a large weight, which has the effect of constricting distances along that dimension. Thus the learned weights perform a directional local reshaping of distances which allows a better separation of clusters, and therefore the discovery of different patterns in different subspaces of the original input space.

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