How to Automatically Determine the Number of Clusters in your Data - and more

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Determining the number of clusters when performing unsupervised clustering is a tricky problem. Many data sets don't exhibit well separated clusters, and two human beings asked to visually tell the number of clusters by looking at a chart, are likely to provide two different answers. Sometimes clusters overlap with each other, and large clusters contain sub-clusters, making a decision not easy. For instance, how many clusters do you see in the picture below? What is the optimum number of clusters?