Robi Bhattacharjee (Theory Seminar)

"Online k-means Clustering on Arbitrary Data Streams"

Robi Bhattacharjee (UCSD)
Monday, November 22nd 2021, 2-3pm


We consider online k-means clustering where each new point is assigned to the nearest cluster center, after which the algorithm may update its centers. The loss incurred is the sum of squared distances from new points to their assigned cluster centers. The goal over a data stream X is to achieve loss that is a constant factor of L(X, OPT), the best possible loss using k fixed points in hindsight.

We propose a data parameter, P(X), such that for any algorithm maintaining O(k polylog(n)) centers at time n, there exists a data stream X for which a loss of O(P(X)) is inevitable.

We then give a randomized algorithm that achieves clustering loss O(P(X) + L(X, OPT)). Our algorithm uses O(k polylog(n)) memory and maintains O(k polylog(n)) cluster centers. Our algorithm also enjoys a running time of O(k polylog(n)) and is the first algorithm to achieve polynomial space and time complexity in this setting. It also is the first to have provable guarantees without making any assumptions on the input data.

Joint work with Sanjoy Dasgupta, Jacob Imola, and Michal Moshkovitz.