Clustering Ensemble Meets Low-rank Tensor Approximation


  • Yuheng Jia City University of Hong Kong Southeast University
  • Hui Liu City University of Hong Kong
  • Junhui Hou City University of Hong Kong
  • Qingfu Zhang City University of Hong Kong




This paper explores the problem of clustering ensemble, which aims to combine multiple base clusterings to produce better performance than that of the individual one. The existing clustering ensemble methods generally construct a co-association matrix, which indicates the pairwise similarity between samples, as the weighted linear combination of the connective matrices from different base clusterings, and the resulting co-association matrix is then adopted as the input of an off-the-shelf clustering algorithm, e.g., spectral clustering. However, the co-association matrix may be dominated by poor base clusterings, resulting in inferior performance. In this paper, we propose a novel low-rank tensor approximation based method to solve the problem from a global perspective. Specifically, by inspecting whether two samples are clustered to an identical cluster under different base clusterings, we derive a coherent-link matrix, which contains limited but highly reliable relationships between samples. We then stack the coherent-link matrix and the co-association matrix to form a three-dimensional tensor, the low-rankness property of which is further explored to propagate the information of the coherent-link matrix to the co-association matrix, producing a refined co-association matrix. We formulate the proposed method as a convex constrained optimization problem and solve it efficiently. Experimental results over 7 benchmark data sets show that the proposed model achieves a breakthrough in clustering performance, compared with 12 state-of-the-art methods. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work to explore the potential of low-rank tensor on clustering ensemble, which is fundamentally different from previous approaches. Last but not least, our method only contains one parameter, which can be easily tuned.




How to Cite

Jia, Y., Liu, H., Hou, J., & Zhang, Q. (2021). Clustering Ensemble Meets Low-rank Tensor Approximation. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 35(9), 7970-7978. Retrieved from



AAAI Technical Track on Machine Learning II