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Towards a Statistical Theory of Clustering. Presented at the PASCAL workshop on clustering, London

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons76237

von Luxburg,  U
Department Empirical Inference, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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von Luxburg, U.(2005). Towards a Statistical Theory of Clustering. Presented at the PASCAL workshop on clustering, London.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-D70B-3
Abstract
The goal of this paper is to discuss statistical aspects of clustering in a framework where the data to be clustered has been sampled from some unknown probability distribution. Firstly, the clustering of the data set should reveal some structure of the underlying data rather than model artifacts due to the random sampling process. Secondly, the more sample points we have, the more reliable the clustering should be. We discuss which methods can and cannot be used to tackle those problems. In particular we argue that generalization bounds as they are used in statistical learning theory of classification are unsuitable in a general clustering framework. We suggest that the main replacements of generalization bounds should be convergence proofs and stability considerations. This paper should be considered as a road map paper which identifies important questions and potentially fruitful directions for future research about statistical clustering. We do not attempt to present a complete statistical theory of clustering.