How to Find a Good Explanation for Clustering?

by   Sayan Bandyapadhyay, et al.

k-means and k-median clustering are powerful unsupervised machine learning techniques. However, due to complicated dependences on all the features, it is challenging to interpret the resulting cluster assignments. Moshkovitz, Dasgupta, Rashtchian, and Frost [ICML 2020] proposed an elegant model of explainable k-means and k-median clustering. In this model, a decision tree with k leaves provides a straightforward characterization of the data set into clusters. We study two natural algorithmic questions about explainable clustering. (1) For a given clustering, how to find the "best explanation" by using a decision tree with k leaves? (2) For a given set of points, how to find a decision tree with k leaves minimizing the k-means/median objective of the resulting explainable clustering? To address the first question, we introduce a new model of explainable clustering. Our model, inspired by the notion of outliers in robust statistics, is the following. We are seeking a small number of points (outliers) whose removal makes the existing clustering well-explainable. For addressing the second question, we initiate the study of the model of Moshkovitz et al. from the perspective of multivariate complexity. Our rigorous algorithmic analysis sheds some light on the influence of parameters like the input size, dimension of the data, the number of outliers, the number of clusters, and the approximation ratio, on the computational complexity of explainable clustering.


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