Generalized Clustering by Learning to Optimize Expected Normalized Cuts

Nazi, Azade, Hang, Will, Goldie, Anna, Ravi, Sujith, Mirhoseini, Azalia Machine Learning 

We introduce a novel end-to-end approach for learning to cluster in the absence of labeled examples. Our clustering objective is based on optimizing normalized cuts, a criterion which measures both intra-cluster similarity as well as inter-cluster dissimilarity. We define a differentiable loss function equivalent to the expected normalized cuts. Unlike much of the work in unsupervised deep learning, our trained model directly outputs final cluster assignments, rather than embeddings that need further processing to be usable. Our approach generalizes to unseen datasets across a wide variety of domains, including text, and image. Specifically, we achieve state-of-the-art results on popular unsupervised clustering benchmarks (e.g., MNIST, Reuters, CIFAR-10, and CIFAR-100), outperforming the strongest baselines by up to 10.9%. Our generalization results are superior (by up to 21.9%) to the recent top-performing clustering approach with the ability to generalize.

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