K-Medoids For K-Means Seeding

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 30 (NIPS 2017)

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James Newling, François Fleuret


We show experimentally that the algorithm CLARANS of Ng and Han (1994) finds better K-medoids solutions than the Voronoi iteration algorithm of Hastie et al. (2001). This finding, along with the similarity between the Voronoi iteration algorithm and Lloyd's K-means algorithm, motivates us to use CLARANS as a K-means initializer. We show that CLARANS outperforms other algorithms on 23/23 datasets with a mean decrease over k-means++ of 30% for initialization mean squared error (MSE) and 3% for final MSE. We introduce algorithmic improvements to CLARANS which improve its complexity and runtime, making it a viable initialization scheme for large datasets.