Initializing k-means Clustering

Christian Borgelt, Olha Yarikova

Abstract

The quality of clustering results obtained with the k-means algorithm depends heavily on the initialization of the cluster centers. Simply sampling centers uniformly at random from the data points usually yields fairly poor and unstable results. Hence several alternatives have been suggested in the past, among which Maximin (Hathaway et al., 2006) and k-means++ (Arthur and Vassilvitskii, 2007) are best known and most widely used. In this paper we explore modifications of these methods that deal with cases, in which the original methods still yield suboptimal choices of the initial cluster centers. Furthermore we present efficient implementations of our new methods.

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