On a 'Two Truths' Phenomenon in Spectral Graph Clustering

Clustering is concerned with coherently grouping observations without any explicit concept of true groupings. Spectral graph clustering - clustering the vertices of a graph based on their spectral embedding - is commonly approached via K-means (or, more generally, Gaussian mixture model) clustering composed with either Laplacian or Adjacency spectral embedding (LSE or ASE). Recent theoretical results provide new understanding of the problem and solutions, and lead us to a 'Two Truths' LSE vs. ASE spectral graph clustering phenomenon convincingly illustrated here via a diffusion MRI connectome data set: the different embedding methods yield different clustering results, with LSE capturing left hemisphere/right hemisphere affinity structure and ASE capturing gray matter/white matter core-periphery structure.

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