; Proceedings of the 30th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 28(2):145-153, 2013.
We propose a natural cost function for the bi-clustering task, the monochromatic cost. This cost function is suitable for detecting meaningful homogeneous bi-clusters based on categorical valued input matrices. Such tasks arise in many applications, such as the analysis of social networks and in systems-biology where researchers try to infer functional grouping of biological agents based on their pairwise interactions. We analyze the computational complexity of the resulting optimization problem. We present a polynomial time approximation algorithm for this bi-clustering task and complement this result by showing that finding (exact) optimal solutions is NP-hard. As far as we know, these are the first positive approximation guarantees and formal NP-hardness results for any bi-clustering optimization problem. In addition, we show that our optimization problem can be efficiently solved by deterministic annealing, yielding a promising heuristic for large problem instances.