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Conference Paper

#### Consistent Minimization of Clustering Objective Functions

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##### Citation

von Luxburg, U., Bubeck, S., Jegelka, S., & Kaufmann, M. (2008). Consistent Minimization
of Clustering Objective Functions.* Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 20: 21st Annual
Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems 2007,* 961-968.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-C735-4

##### Abstract

Clustering is often formulated as a discrete optimization problem. The objective is to find, among all partitions of the data set, the best one according to some quality measure. However, in the statistical setting where we assume that the finite data set has been sampled from some underlying space, the goal is not to find the best partition of the given sample, but to approximate the true partition of the underlying space. We argue that the discrete optimization approach usually does not achieve this goal. As an alternative, we suggest the paradigm of nearest neighbor clusteringamp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lsquo;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lsquo;. Instead of selecting the best out of all partitions of the sample, it only considers partitions in some restricted function class. Using tools from statistical learning theory we prove that nearest neighbor clustering is statistically consistent. Moreover, its worst case complexity is polynomial by co
nstructi
on, and
it can b
e implem
ented wi
th small
average
case co
mplexity
using b
ranch an
d bound.