Streaming k-means approximation

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 22 (NIPS 2009)

Bibtex Metadata Paper Supplemental


Nir Ailon, Ragesh Jaiswal, Claire Monteleoni


We provide a clustering algorithm that approximately optimizes the k-means objective, in the one-pass streaming setting. We make no assumptions about the data, and our algorithm is very light-weight in terms of memory, and computation. This setting is applicable to unsupervised learning on massive data sets, or resource-constrained devices. The two main ingredients of our theoretical work are: a derivation of an extremely simple pseudo-approximation batch algorithm for k-means, in which the algorithm is allowed to output more than k centers (based on the recent k-means++"), and a streaming clustering algorithm in which batch clustering algorithms are performed on small inputs (fitting in memory) and combined in a hierarchical manner. Empirical evaluations on real and simulated data reveal the practical utility of our method."