Tutorial: Discovering Multiple Clustering Solutions

Grouping Objects in Different Views of the Data


Traditional clustering algorithms identify just a single clustering of the data. Today's complex data, however, allows multiple interpretations leading to several valid groupings hidden in different views of the database. Each of these multiple clustering solutions is valuable and interesting as different perspectives on the same data and several meaningful groupings for each object are given. Especially for high dimensional data where each object is described by multiple attributes, alternative clusters in different attribute subsets are of major interest.


In this tutorial, we describe several real world application scenarios for multiple clustering solutions. We abstract from these scenarios and provide the general challenges in this emerging research area. We describe state-of-the-art paradigms, we highlight specific techniques, and we give an overview of this topic by providing a taxonomy of the existing methods. By focusing on open challenges, we try to attract young researchers for participating in this emerging research field.


Our target is a broad audience ranging from researches focusing on formal methods up to application oriented practitioners from industry. Researches from the area of clustering but also from related directions might contribute to this field. For all of these people, multiple clustering solutions will be of great interest.


Presentations of this tutorial at IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM 2010), SIAM Conference on Data Mining (SDM 2011), IEEE International Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE 2012), Pacific-Asia Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (PAKDD 2012), and recent MultiClust workshops at KDD 2010, ECML PKDD 2011, and SDM 2012 have initiated a broad interest in this emerging topic. Hence, we are currently organizing a special issue on the topic of "Multiple Clustering Solutions". The MultiClust Special Issue on Discovering, Summarizing and Using Multiple Clusterings will be published in the Machine Learning Journal. The special issue is addressed to the emerging communities in Database Systems, Machine Learning, Data Mining, and Statistics that are contributing to this topic. Additionally, we will present an updated version of our tutorial at the International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML 2013).


Download the latest version of tutorial slides:

Tutorial slides "Discovering Multiple Clustering Solutions"


Dr. Emmanuel Müller (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany)

Emmanuel Müller is a senior researcher and lecturer at the institute for program structures and data organization at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany. In the past years, he was a research assistant in computer science at the data management and data exploration group at RWTH Aachen University, Germany. His research interests cover efficient data mining in high dimensional data, detection of clusters in subspace projections and outlier detection. Leading the open-source initiative OpenSubspace he provides a general contribution to the research community especially by a repeatable and comparable evaluation study on recent data mining approaches. Dr. Müller received his Diplom (MSc) in 2007 and his PhD in 2010 from RWTH Aachen University. He is active member of program committees such as SDM, ECML PKDD, and recent MultiClust-Workshops.

Dr. Stephan Günnemann (Carnegie Mellon University, USA)

Stephan Günnemann is a Postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, USA. In the past years, he has been a research associate in computer science at the data management and data exploration group at RWTH Aachen University, Germany where he has been supported by the UMIC research cluster of the DFG. His research interests include graph mining and the mining of non-redundant, multiple clustering solutions for high dimensional and structured data. He contributes to the open source initiative OpenSubspace for the evaluation and exploration of subspace clustering algorithms. Dr. Günnemann received his Diplom (MSc) in 2008 and his PhD in 2012 from RWTH Aachen University.

Ines Färber (RWTH Aachen University, Germany)

Ines Färber is a PhD student and research assistant in computer science at the data management and data exploration group at RWTH Aachen University, Germany. Her research interests include mining of alternative and multi-view clustering solutions for high dimensional data. She contributes to the OpenSubspace initiative for evaluation and exploration of multiple clustering solutions. Ines Färber received her Diplom (MSc) in 2009 from RWTH Aachen University.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Seidl (RWTH Aachen University, Germany)

Thomas Seidl is a professor for computer science and head of the data management and data exploration group at RWTH Aachen University, Germany. His research interests include data mining and database technology for multimedia and spatio-temporal databases in engineering, communication and life science applications. Prof. Seidl received his Diplom (MSc) in 1992 from TU Muenchen and his PhD (1997) and venia legendi (2001) from LMU Muenchen. He is active member of several program committees including ACM SIGKDD, IEEE ICDE, SDM, recent MultiClust-Workshops and others. He is member of the editorial board of The VLDB Journal as associate editor.


This research was funded in part by the cluster of excellence on Ultra-high speed Mobile Information and Communication (UMIC) of the DFG (German Research Foundation grant EXC 89).


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