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This paper addresses two main challenges for clustering which require extensive human effort: selecting appropriate parameters for an arbitrary clustering algorithm and identifying alternative clusters. We propose an architecture and a concrete system MR-CLEVER for multi-run clustering that integrates active learning with clustering algorithms. The key hypothesis of this work is that better clustering results can be obtained by combining clusters that originate from multiple runs of clustering algorithms. By defining states that represent parameter settings of a clustering algorithm, the proposed architecture actively learns a state utility function. The utility of a parameter setting is assessed based on clustering run-time, quality and novelty of the obtained clusters. Furthermore, the utility function plays an important role in guiding the clustering algorithm to seek novel solutions. Cluster novelty measures are introduced for this purpose. Finally, we also contribute a cluster summarization algorithm that assembles a final clustering as a combination of high-quality clusters originating from multiple runs. Merits of our proposed system are that it is generic and therefore can be used in conjunction with different clustering algorithms, and it reduces human effort for selecting the parameters, for comparing clustering results and for assembling clustering results. We evaluate the proposed system in conjunction with a representative based clustering algorithm namely CLEVER for a challenging data mining task involving an earthquake dataset. The obtained results demonstrate that, in comparison to the best single-run clustering, multi-run clustering discovers solutions of higher quality.
Date of Conference: March 30 2009-April 2 2009