Partitioning Well-Clustered Graphs: Spectral Clustering Works!


Richard Peng, He Sun, Luca Zanetti ;
Proceedings of The 28th Conference on Learning Theory, PMLR 40:1423-1455, 2015.


In this work we study the widely used \emphspectral clustering algorithms, i.e. partition a graph into k clusters via (1) embedding the vertices of a graph into a low-dimensional space using the bottom eigenvectors of the Laplacian matrix, and (2) partitioning embedded points via k-means algorithms. We show that, for a wide class of \emphwell-clustered graphs, spectral clustering algorithms can give a good approximation of the optimal clustering. To the best of our knowledge, it is the \emphfirst theoretical analysis of spectral clustering algorithms for a wide family of graphs, even though such approach was proposed in the early 1990s and has comprehensive applications. We also give a nearly-linear time algorithm for partitioning well-clustered graphs, which is based on heat kernel embeddings and approximate nearest neighbor data structures.

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