Multi-Assignment Clustering for Boolean Data

author: Mario Frank, Department of Computer Science, ETH Zurich
published: Aug. 26, 2009,   recorded: June 2009,   views: 5536


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Conventional clustering methods typically assume that each data item belongs to a single cluster. This assumption does not hold in general. In order to overcome this limitation, we propose a generative method for clustering vectorial data, where each object can be assigned to multiple clusters. Using a deterministic annealing scheme, our method decomposes the observed data into the contributions of individual clusters and infers their parameters.
Experiments on synthetic Boolean data show that our method achieves higher accuracy in the source parameter estimation and superior cluster stability compared to state-of-the-art approaches. We also apply our method to an important problem in computer security known as role mining. Experiments on real-world access control data show performance gains in generalization to new employees against other multi-assignment methods. In challenging situations with high noise levels, our approach maintains its good performance, while alternative state-of-the-art techniques lack robustness.

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