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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Clustering with Gaussian mixtures

In a previous post on clustering and cluster validity (i.e. determining the number of clusters), I was writing about the different types of algorithms. Another way of doing clustering is through Gaussian mixtures.

Andrew W. Moore has made a nice presentation on this topic. After a short introduction on unsupervised learning, he then presents GMM (Gaussian Mixtures Models) principles. He continues with the EM (Expectation Maximization) algorithm for maximum likelihood. He also gives real-life examples. Finally the Duda et al. book is suggested as reference.

Using Gaussian mixtures for clustering is clean and provides a strong mathematical background. Moreover, using cross-validation, the number of clusters within data can be inferred. However, the algorithm (with cross-validation) is time consuming and perhaps not practical for some real-life data sets.

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2 comments:

John Aitchison said...

Hi
Are you aware of the MULTIMIX approach of Murray Jorgensen?

.. you can get more details from here
http://www.stats.waikato.ac.nz/Staff/maj.html

. .. it is also mentioned on David Dowe's page
http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~dld/cluster.html

Sandro Saitta said...

Hi John,

I wasn't aware of the MULTIMIX approach up to now. It seems to be closely related to mixture of Gaussians. However, I don't know if it has the same main drawback (i.e. time consuming).

 
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