When Is Constrained Clustering Beneficial, and Why?

Kiri L. Wagstaff, Sugato Basu, Ian Davidson

Several researchers have shown that constraints can improve the results of a variety of clustering algorithms. However, there can be a large variation in this improvement, even for a fixed number of constraints for a given data set. We present the first attempt to provide insight into this phenomenon by characterizing two constraint set properties: informativeness and coherence. We show that these measures can help explain why some constraint sets are more beneficial to clustering algorithms than others. Since they can be computed prior to clustering, these measures can aid in deciding which constraints to use in practice.

Subjects: 12. Machine Learning and Discovery; 15.2 Constraint Satisfaction

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