Two univariate Gaussian distributions with unit variance and means and separated by distance 'dx', from which samples of size N are drawn from each distribution.

the minimum value of dx such that on ~300 repeated tests using Ward's clustering with Euclidean distance, and the cubic cluster criterion there is a greater than 99% chance of not having a false classification as a function of "N". Assume that one of the clusters has its center at 0, and therefore the other is at 'dx', that the maximum value of dx is less than 10, and the range of N is between 5 and 35.

I can simulate this, and get an approximation, but I am wondering if there is an analytic form derived from first principles.

  • $\begingroup$ cubic cluster[ing] criterion fails at least 50% of the time What's that operationally? CCC does not give descrete decision "yes' or "no", in what sense then can it "fail"? $\endgroup$
    – ttnphns
    Feb 4, 2017 at 7:23
  • $\begingroup$ @ttnphns - better? $\endgroup$ Feb 5, 2017 at 1:17
  • $\begingroup$ I would suggest you to conduct simulations. $\endgroup$
    – ttnphns
    Feb 5, 2017 at 8:04

1 Answer 1


So here is how I initially made the data:

## libraries and purpose

## main

#how many trials per sample-size
N_tests <- 3000

#list of sample sizes
N_samp <- c(seq(from=5, to=25, by=1),
            seq(from=30, to=100, by=5))

#range of separation (dx)
separation <- seq(from=2.5,to=6.5,length.out=100)

err_sum <- matrix(0,nrow = length(separation),ncol=length(N_samp))

#main loop
for(k in 1:length(N_samp)){

     for(i in 1:length(separation)){

          target <- c(rep.int(1,N_samp[k]),

          err <- numeric(length(target)/2)

          for (j in 1:N_tests){

               #make data
               x<-c(rnorm(N_samp[k],mean = 0,sd=1),
                    rnorm(N_samp[k],mean=separation[i],sd=1) )

               #cluster it
                            distance = "euclidean",
                            min.nc=1, max.nc=4,
                            method = "ward.D2",
                            index = "ccc")

               #count misclassification
               idx <- which(res$Best.partition - target != 0, arr.ind = T)

               if (length(idx)==0){
                    err[j] <- 0
               } else {
                    err[j] <- length(idx)/length(target)

          err_sum[i,k] <- mean(err)


data1 <- data.frame(separation,err_sum)

for (i in 1:(length(N_samp))){
     names(data1)[1+i] <- paste("n_", as.character(N_samp[i]),sep="")

     zidx <- which(data1[,i+1]>= 1/N_samp[i])

     zval <- (0*data1[,i+1])
     zval[zidx] <- 1

     data1 <- cbind(data1,zval)
     names(data1)[ncol(data1)] <- paste("z_", as.character(N_samp[i]),sep="")


for (i in 1:(length(N_samp))){

     dzval <- c(0, diff(data1[,37+i]))

     data1 <- cbind(data1,dzval)
     names(data1)[ncol(data1)] <- paste("dz_", as.character(N_samp[i]),sep="")


write.csv(x = data1,file = "myout.csv")

This gave me a csv file, which I imported into JMP, stacked the DZ columns, looked for non-zero values, and then averaged them to get a table of separation that has 50/50 likelihood of not containing a mis-classification, and then fit it in the bivariate platform as shown here:

enter image description here

I think the log-log domain, third order polynomial fit is the best one. I don't believe it is much more than a transformed version of a taylor series approximation to the truth, but it is what I have.

$ dx \left( N,P \right) |_{P = 50 \%} = e^{1.3989 - 0.1221 \cdot ln \left(N\right) + 0.07444 \cdot ln \left(N\right)^{2} - 0.007329 \cdot ln \left(N\right)^{3}}$

And yes, I used the level of local oscillations in the spline to determine a decent fit parameter. Someday I will apply a Fourier method to it to find the best parameter, or I will find someone else who has done it, but until then I will use it as an "eyeball norm" to augment fit parameters.

The sampling delta for x was about 0.04 units. I would expect error in the mean to be on that scale. I would also expect the trendline error to be less than that.

  • $\begingroup$ +1 (interesting). But why did you want to know it all? Also, why did you choose to do both Ward clustering and CCC? Yor thus cannot untangle their effects on the result, their effects potentially contaminate each other. Why not simulate various clusters and apply CCC without doing any clustering at all? $\endgroup$
    – ttnphns
    Feb 7, 2017 at 15:16
  • $\begingroup$ @ttnphns - It is a toy problem that is likely to be rewrapped and used in another form. Those tools were the ones previously specified, and for which the results were acceptable. Sometimes, if it works, they cost of proving something else would do the same job on previous tasks is more expensive than continuing to use the tool. I don't like the second half of the data, and the fit params change substantially if N_samp is between 5 and 25. $\endgroup$ Feb 7, 2017 at 18:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.