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The Space Complexity of Pass-Efficient Algorithms for Clustering


Chang,  Kevin L.
Algorithms and Complexity, MPI for Informatics, Max Planck Society;

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Chang, K. L., & Kannan, R. (2006). The Space Complexity of Pass-Efficient Algorithms for Clustering. In Proceedings of the Seventeenth Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, SODA'06 (pp. 1157-1166). New York, USA: ACM / Siam.

We present multiple pass streaming algorithms for a basic clustering problem for massive data sets. If our algorithm is allotted 2l passes, it will produce an approximation with error at most ε using Õ(k3/ε2/l) bits of memory, the most critical resource for streaming computation. We demonstrate that this tradeoff between passes and memory allotted is intrinsic to the problem and model of computation by proving lower bounds on the memory requirements of any l pass randomized algorithm that are nearly matched by our upper bounds. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time nearly matching bounds have been proved for such an exponential tradeoff for randomized computation.In this problem, we are given a set of n points drawn randomly according to a mixture of k uniform distributions and wish to approximate the density function of the mixture. The points are placed in a datastream (possibly in adversarial order), which may only be read sequentially by the algorithm. We argue that this models, among others, the datastream produced by a national census of the incomes of all citizens.