We consider the following clustering problem: we have a complete graph on n vertices (items), where each edge (u; v) is labeled either + or - depending on whether u and v have been deemed to be similar or different. The goal is to produce a partition of the vertices (a clustering) that agrees as much as possible with the edge labels. That is, we want a clustering that maximizes the number of + edges within clusters, plus the number of - edges between clusters (equivalently, minimizes the number of disagreements: the number of - edges inside clusters plus the number of + edges between clusters). This formulation is motivated from a document clustering problem in which one has a pairwise similarity function f learned from past data, and the goal is to partition the current set of documents in a way that correlates with f as much as possible; it can also be viewed as a kind of "agnostic learning" problem. An interesting feature of this clustering formulation is that one does not need to specify the number of clusters k as a separate parameter, as in measures such as k-median or min-sum or min-max clustering. Instead, in our formulation, the optimal number of clusters could be any value between 1 and n, depending on the edge labels. We look at approximation algorithms for both minimizing disagreements and for maximizing agreements. For minimizing disagreements, we give a constant factor approximation. For maximizing agreements we give a PTAS. We also show how to extend some of these results to graphs with edge labels in [-1, +1] and give some results for the case of random noise.
|Title of host publication||Proceedings of the 43rd Annual IEEE Sympiosium on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS'02, Vancouver BC, Canada, November 16-19, 2002)|
|Publisher||Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers|
|Publication status||Published - 2002|