Nested Mini-Batch K-Means

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 29 (NIPS 2016)

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James Newling, François Fleuret


A new algorithm is proposed which accelerates the mini-batch k-means algorithm of Sculley (2010) by using the distance bounding approach of Elkan (2003). We argue that, when incorporating distance bounds into a mini-batch algorithm, already used data should preferentially be reused. To this end we propose using nested mini-batches, whereby data in a mini-batch at iteration t is automatically reused at iteration t+1. Using nested mini-batches presents two difficulties. The first is that unbalanced use of data can bias estimates, which we resolve by ensuring that each data sample contributes exactly once to centroids. The second is in choosing mini-batch sizes, which we address by balancing premature fine-tuning of centroids with redundancy induced slow-down. Experiments show that the resulting nmbatch algorithm is very effective, often arriving within 1\% of the empirical minimum 100 times earlier than the standard mini-batch algorithm.