On Perfect Clustering of High Dimension, Low Sample Size Data

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence


Popular clustering algorithms based on usual distance functions (e.g., the Euclidean distance) often suffer in high dimension, low sample size (HDLSS) situations, where concentration of pairwise distances and violation of neighborhood structure have adverse effects on their performance. In this article, we use a new data-driven dissimilarity measure, called MADD, which takes care of these problems. MADD uses the distance concentration phenomenon to its advantage, and as a result, clustering algorithms based on MADD usually perform well for high dimensional data. We establish it using theoretical as well as numerical studies. We also address the problem of estimating the number of clusters. This is a challenging problem in cluster analysis, and several algorithms are available for it. We show that many of these existing algorithms have superior performance in high dimensions when they are constructed using MADD. We also construct a new estimator based on a penalized version of the Dunn index and prove its consistency in the HDLSS asymptotic regime. Several simulated and real data sets are analyzed to demonstrate the usefulness of MADD for cluster analysis of high dimensional data.

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Open Access, Green

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