Clustering Without an Eigengap

by   Matthew Zurek, et al.

We study graph clustering in the Stochastic Block Model (SBM) in the presence of both large clusters and small, unrecoverable clusters. Previous approaches achieving exact recovery do not allow any small clusters of size o(√(n)), or require a size gap between the smallest recovered cluster and the largest non-recovered cluster. We provide an algorithm based on semidefinite programming (SDP) which removes these requirements and provably recovers large clusters regardless of the remaining cluster sizes. Mid-sized clusters pose unique challenges to the analysis, since their proximity to the recovery threshold makes them highly sensitive to small noise perturbations and precludes a closed-form candidate solution. We develop novel techniques, including a leave-one-out-style argument which controls the correlation between SDP solutions and noise vectors even when the removal of one row of noise can drastically change the SDP solution. We also develop improved eigenvalue perturbation bounds of potential independent interest. Using our gap-free clustering procedure, we obtain efficient algorithms for the problem of clustering with a faulty oracle with superior query complexities, notably achieving o(n^2) sample complexity even in the presence of a large number of small clusters. Our gap-free clustering procedure also leads to improved algorithms for recursive clustering. Our results extend to certain heterogeneous probability settings that are challenging for alternative algorithms.


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