The Impact of Isolation Kernel on Agglomerative Hierarchical Clustering Algorithms

10/12/2020 ∙ by Xin Han, et al. ∙ 0

Agglomerative hierarchical clustering (AHC) is one of the popular clustering approaches. Existing AHC methods, which are based on a distance measure, have one key issue: it has difficulty in identifying adjacent clusters with varied densities, regardless of the cluster extraction methods applied on the resultant dendrogram. In this paper, we identify the root cause of this issue and show that the use of a data-dependent kernel (instead of distance or existing kernel) provides an effective means to address it. We analyse the condition under which existing AHC methods fail to extract clusters effectively; and the reason why the data-dependent kernel is an effective remedy. This leads to a new approach to kernerlise existing hierarchical clustering algorithms such as existing traditional AHC algorithms, HDBSCAN, GDL and PHA. In each of these algorithms, our empirical evaluation shows that a recently introduced Isolation Kernel produces a higher quality or purer dendrogram than distance, Gaussian Kernel and adaptive Gaussian Kernel.

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