Random Projections for $k$-means Clustering

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 23 (NIPS 2010)

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Christos Boutsidis, Anastasios Zouzias, Petros Drineas


This paper discusses the topic of dimensionality reduction for $k$-means clustering. We prove that any set of $n$ points in $d$ dimensions (rows in a matrix $A \in \RR^{n \times d}$) can be projected into $t = \Omega(k / \eps^2)$ dimensions, for any $\eps \in (0,1/3)$, in $O(n d \lceil \eps^{-2} k/ \log(d) \rceil )$ time, such that with constant probability the optimal $k$-partition of the point set is preserved within a factor of $2+\eps$. The projection is done by post-multiplying $A$ with a $d \times t$ random matrix $R$ having entries $+1/\sqrt{t}$ or $-1/\sqrt{t}$ with equal probability. A numerical implementation of our technique and experiments on a large face images dataset verify the speed and the accuracy of our theoretical results.