# Tagged Questions

Cluster analysis is the task of partitioning data into subsets of objects according to their mutual "similarity," without using preexisting knowledge such as class labels. [Clustered-standard-errors and/or cluster-samples should be tagged as such; do NOT use the "clustering" tag for them.]

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### How to understand the drawbacks of K-means

K-means is a widely used method in cluster analysis. In my understanding, this method does NOT require ANY assumptions, i.e., give me a dataset and a pre-specified number of clusters, k, and I just ...
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### Why is Euclidean distance not a good metric in high dimensions?

I read that 'Euclidean distance is not a good distance in high dimensions'. I guess this statement has something to do with the curse of dimensionality, but what exactly? Besides, what is 'high ...
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### Detecting a given face in a database of facial images

I'm working on a little project involving the faces of twitter users via their profile pictures. A problem I've encountered is that after I filter out all but the images that are clear portrait ...
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### Choosing clustering method

When using cluster analysis on a data set to group similar cases, one needs to choose among a large number of clustering methods and measures of distance. Sometimes, one choice might influence the ...
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### How to tell if data is “clustered” enough for clustering algorithms to produce meaningful results?

How would you know if your (high dimensional) data exhibits enough clustering so that results from kmeans or other clustering algorithm is actually meaningful? For k-means algorithm in particular, ...
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### Euclidean distance is usually not good for sparse data?

I have seen somewhere that classical distances (like Euclidean distance) become weakly discriminant when we have multidimensional and sparse data. Why? Do you have an example of two sparse data ...
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### Where to cut a dendrogram?

Hierarchical clustering can be represented by a dendrogram. Cutting a dendrogram at a certain level gives a set of clusters. Cutting at another level gives another set of clusters. How would you pick ...
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### How to decide on the correct number of clusters?

We find the cluster centers and assign points into different bins in k-means clustering which is a very simple algorithm and is found almost in every machine learning material on the net. But the ...
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### How to do community detection in a weighted social network/graph?

I'm wondering if someone could suggest what are good starting points when it comes to performing community detection/graph partitioning/clustering on a graph that has weighted, undirected edges. The ...
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### Is it possible to do time-series clustering based on curve shape?

I have sales data for a series of outlets, and want to categorise them based on the shape of their curves over time. The data looks roughly like this (but obviously isn't random, and has some missing ...
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### Time series 'clustering' in R

I have a set of time series data. Each series covers the same period, although the actual dates in each time series may not all 'line up' exactly. That is to say, if the Time series were to be read ...
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### Clustering with a distance matrix

I have a (symmetric) matrix M that represents the distance between each pair of nodes. For example, A B C D E F G H I J K L A 0 20 ...
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### How to do dimensionality reduction in R

I have a matrix where a(i,j) tells me how many times individual i viewed page j. There are 27K individuals and 95K pages. I would like to have a handful of "dimensions" or "aspects" in the space of ...
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### What stop-criteria for agglomerative hierarchical clustering are used in practice?

I have found extensive literature proposing all sorts of criteria (e.g. Glenn et al. 1985(pdf) and Jung et al. 2002(pdf)). However, most of these are not that easy to implement (at least from my ...
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### Detecting patterns of cheating on a multi-question exam

QUESTION: I have binary data on exam questions (correct/incorrect). Some individuals might have had prior access to a subset of questions and their correct answers. I don’t know who, how many, or ...
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### Clustering a dataset with both discrete and continuous variables

I have a dataset X which has 10 dimensions, 4 of which are discrete values. In fact, those 4 discrete variables are ordinal, i.e. a higher value implies a higher/better semantic. 2 of these discrete ...
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### How to interpret mean of Silhouette plot?

Im trying to use silhouette plot to determine the number of cluster in my dataset. Given the dataset Train , i used the following matlab code ...
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### Are mean normalization and feature scaling needed for k-means clustering?

What are the best (recommended) pre-processing steps before performing k-means?
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### Clustering variables based on correlations between them

Questions: I have a large correlation matrix. Instead of clustering individual correlations, I want to cluster variables based on their correlations to each other, ie if variable A and variable B ...
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### How to define number of clusters in K-means clustering?

Is there any way to determine the optimal cluster number or should I just try different values and check the error rates to decide on the best value?
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### Perform K-means (or its close kin) clustering with only a distance matrix, not points-by-features data

I want to perform K-means clustering on objects I have, but the objects aren't described as points in space, i.e. by objects x features dataset. However, I am able ...
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### Clustering of mixed type data with R

I wonder whether it is possible to perform within R a clustering of data having mixed data variables. In other words I have a data set containing both numerical and categorical variables within and I'...
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### Nonparametric Bayesian analysis in R

I am looking for a good tutorial on clustering data in R using hierarchical dirichlet process (HDP) (one of the recent and popular nonparametric Bayesian methods). ...
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### What is the relation between k-means clustering and PCA?

It is a common practice to apply PCA (principal component analysis) before a clustering algorithm (such as k-means). It is believed that it improves the clustering results in practice (noise reduction)...
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### Assumptions of cluster analysis

Apologies for the rudimentary question, I am new to this form of analysis and have a very limited understanding of the principles so far. I was just wondering if many of the parametric assumptions ...
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### (Why) Has Kohonen-style SOM fallen out of favor?

As far as I can tell, Kohonen-style SOMs had a peak back around 2005 and haven't seen as much favor recently. I haven't found any paper that says that SOMs have been subsumed by another method, or ...
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### Why does k-means clustering algorithm use only Euclidean distance metric?

Is there a specific purpose in terms of efficiency or functionality why the k-means algorithm does not use for example cosine (dis)similarity as a distance metric, but can only use the Euclidean norm? ...
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### Why does gap statistic for k-means suggest one cluster, even though there are obviously two of them?

I am using K-means to cluster my data and was looking for a way to suggest an "optimal" cluster number. Gap statistics seems to be a common way to find a good cluster number. For some reason it ...
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### Visualization software for clustering

I want to cluster ~22000 points. Many clustering algorithms work better with higher quality initial guesses. What tools exist that can give me a good idea of the rough shape of the data? I do want to ...
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### Reason to normalize in euclidean distance measures in hierarchical clustering

Apparently, in hierarchical clustering in which the distance measure is Euclidean distance, the data must be first normalized or standardized to prevent the covariate with the highest variance from ...
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### Comparing hierarchical clustering dendrograms obtained by different distances & methods

[The initial title "Measurement of similarity for hierarchical clustering trees" was later changed by @ttnphns to better reflect the topic] I am performing a number of hierarchical cluster analyses ...
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### Clustering quality measure

I have a clustering algorithm (not k-means) with input parameter $k$ (number of clusters). After performing clustering I'd like to get some quantitative measure of quality of this clustering. The ...
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### What is an acceptable value of the Calinski & Harabasz (CH) criterion?

I have done a data analysis trying to cluster longitudinal data using R and the kml package. My data contains of around 400 individual trajectories (as it is called in the paper). You can see my ...
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### $L_1$ or $L_.5$ metrics for clustering?

Does anyone use the $L_1$ or $L_.5$ metrics for clustering, rather than $L_2$ ? Aggarwal et al., On the surprising behavior of distance metrics in high dimensional space said (in 2001) that $L_1$ ...
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### LSA vs. PCA (document clustering)

I'm investigation various techniques used in document clustering and I would like to clear some doubts concerning PCA (principal component analysis) and LSA (latent semantic analysis). First thing - ...
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### Is there an R function that will compute the cosine dissimilarity matrix?

I would like to make a heatmap with row clustering based on cosine distances. I'm using R and heatmap.2() for making the figure. I can see that there's a ...
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### Hierarchical clustering with mixed type data - what distance/similarity to use?

In my dataset we have both continuous and naturally discrete variables. I want to know whether we can do hierarchical clustering using both type of variables. And if yes, what distance measure is ...
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### Does “curse of dimensionality” really exist in real data?

I understand what is "curse of dimensionality", and I have done some high dimensional optimization problems and know the challenge of the exponential possibilities. However, I doubt if the "curse of ...
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### Is it ok to use Manhattan distance with Ward's inter-cluster linkage in hierarchical clustering?

I am using hierarchical clustering to analyse time series data. My code is implemented using the Mathematica function DirectAgglomerate[...], which generates ...
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### Comparing clusterings: Rand Index vs Variation of Information

I was wondering if anybody had any insight or intuition behind the difference between the Variation of Information and the Rand Index for comparing clusterings. I have read the paper "Comparing ...
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### How to measure shape of cluster?

I know that this question is not well defined, but some clusters tend to be elliptical or lie in lower dimensional space whilst the other have nonlinear shapes (in 2D or 3D examples). Is there any ...
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### Difference between standard and spherical k-means algorithms

I would like to understand, what is the major implementation difference between standard and spherical k-means clustering algorithms. In each step, k-means computes distances between element vectors ...
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### What are the “hot algorithms” for machine learning?

This is a naive question from someone starting to learn machine learning. I'm reading these days the book "Machine Learning: An algorithmic perspective" from Marsland. I find it useful as an ...
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### Dynamic Time Warping Clustering

What would be the approach to use Dynamic Time Warping to perform clustering of time series? I have read about DTW as a way to find similarity between two time series, while they could be shifted in ...
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### How can an artificial neural network ANN, be used for unsupervised clustering?

I understand how an artificial neural network (ANN), can be trained in a supervised manner using backpropogation to improve the fitting by decreasing the error in ...
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### The input parameters for using latent Dirichlet allocation

When using topic modeling (Latent Dirichlet Allocation), the number of topics is an input parameter that the user need to specify. Looks to me that we should also provide a collection of candidate ...
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### Latent Class Analysis vs. Cluster Analysis - differences in inferences?

What are the differences in inferences that can be made from a latent class analysis (LCA) versus a cluster analysis? Is it correct that a LCA assumes an underlying latent variable that gives rise to ...
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### Appropriate clustering techniques for temporal data?

I have temporal data of activity frequencies. I want to identify clusters in the data that indicate distinct periods of time with similar activity levels. Ideally I want to identify the clusters ...
I have some points $X=\{x_1,...,x_n\}$ in $R^p$, and I want to cluster the points so that: Each cluster contains an equal number of elements of $X$. (Assume that the number of clusters divides $n$.) ...