The Cluster Description Problem - Complexity Results, Formulations and Approximations

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)

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Ian Davidson, Antoine Gourru, S Ravi


Consider the situation where you are given an existing $k$-way clustering $\pi$. A challenge for explainable AI is to find a compact and distinct explanations of each cluster which in this paper is using instance-level descriptors/tags from a common dictionary. Since the descriptors/tags were not given to the clustering method, this is not a semi-supervised learning situation. We show that the \emph{feasibility} problem of just testing whether any distinct description (not the most compact) exists is generally intractable for just two clusters. This means that unless \textbf{P} = \cnp, there cannot exist an efficient algorithm for the cluster description problem. Hence, we explore ILP formulations for smaller problems and a relaxed but restricted setting that leads to a polynomial time algorithm for larger problems. We explore several extension to the basic setting such as the ability to ignore some instances and composition constraints on the descriptions of the clusters. We show our formulation's usefulness on Twitter data where the communities were found using social connectivity (i.e. \texttt{follower} relation) but the explanation of the communities is based on behavioral properties of the nodes (i.e. hashtag usage) not available to the clustering method.