Probably certifiably correct k-means clustering

26 Sep 2015  ·  Takayuki Iguchi, Dustin G. Mixon, Jesse Peterson, Soledad Villar ·

Recently, Bandeira [arXiv:1509.00824] introduced a new type of algorithm (the so-called probably certifiably correct algorithm) that combines fast solvers with the optimality certificates provided by convex relaxations. In this paper, we devise such an algorithm for the problem of k-means clustering... First, we prove that Peng and Wei's semidefinite relaxation of k-means is tight with high probability under a distribution of planted clusters called the stochastic ball model. Our proof follows from a new dual certificate for integral solutions of this semidefinite program. Next, we show how to test the optimality of a proposed k-means solution using this dual certificate in quasilinear time. Finally, we analyze a version of spectral clustering from Peng and Wei that is designed to solve k-means in the case of two clusters. In particular, we show that this quasilinear-time method typically recovers planted clusters under the stochastic ball model. read more

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