On Spectral Clustering: Analysis and an algorithm

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 14 (NIPS 2001)

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Andrew Ng, Michael Jordan, Yair Weiss


Despite many empirical successes of spectral clustering methods(cid:173) algorithms that cluster points using eigenvectors of matrices de(cid:173) rived from the data- there are several unresolved issues. First, there are a wide variety of algorithms that use the eigenvectors in slightly different ways. Second, many of these algorithms have no proof that they will actually compute a reasonable clustering. In this paper, we present a simple spectral clustering algorithm that can be implemented using a few lines of Matlab. Using tools from matrix perturbation theory, we analyze the algorithm, and give conditions under which it can be expected to do well. We also show surprisingly good experimental results on a number of challenging clustering problems.