Top 10 Clustering Algorithms: Which One Do You Need?

Kshitiz Sharan
6 min readAug 13, 2022
Image Source: FreeImages

Clustering is a popular machine learning technique because it’s useful for analyzing data and uncovering hidden trends or patterns. You can use clustering algorithms in different ways, depending on the type of data you have and the insights you want to uncover. When you cluster data, you organize it into groups or clusters so that similar data is grouped together. Depending on your application, different clustering algorithms may be more suitable than others. In this blog post, we will give you an overview of the top 10 clustering algorithms and their pros and cons so that you can choose the right one for your problem.

What is a clustering algorithm?

Clustering is a machine learning technique that is used to group data into categories or clusters. Each cluster is composed of data points that are similar to each other and different from data points in other clusters. A clustering algorithm organizes the data points into clusters in such a way that data points within a cluster are more similar to each other than data points in different clusters. This is commonly used for exploratory data analysis and visualization. Clustering algorithms work by finding patterns in data and making predictions about which data points are most likely to be similar. Once the algorithm has generated a prediction, it uses that to make a decision about how to group the data. Clustering algorithms include k-means clustering, hierarchical clustering, and DBMS based clustering.

k-means clustering

k-means clustering aims to find clusters of data points that are close together, while the clusters are allowed to be far away from each other. This is done by first choosing the number of clusters and then randomly assigning a data point to each cluster. The distance between the data points and the cluster centroids are then calculated, and then the cluster centroids are reassigned to the data points that are the closest. The k-means algorithm is intended for numerical data, with each data point represented by a vector of numbers. The number of clusters is an input to the algorithm and is often determined by the data analyst either by hand or using an automatic method.

Hierarchical clustering

Hierarchical clustering is a method for finding not only separate clusters but also a “distance tree” that shows how the clusters are related to each other. The data is first sorted into a tree-like graph. Clusters are then created at each level of the tree as the data points become closer to each other. Clustering algorithms are often used to create a visual representation of data, such as a graph or chart, that shows how the data is related. A visual representation of the data can help you to find patterns or insights that are otherwise hard to see when looking at numbers or tables of data. Hierarchical clustering is best for data that already has a natural order to it, such as a table of numbers that has been sorted into categories.

Mean-shift clustering

Mean-shift clustering is a type of clustering algorithm that is suitable for both continuous and categorical data. For continuous data, it is primarily used for exploratory analysis and visualization, while for categorical data it is mainly used for exploratory analysis. Mean-shift clustering can be used on both small data sets containing only a few data points and large data sets consisting of many thousands of data points. It works by looking at the data and then trying to find a “center of gravity” of the data set. The main advantage of mean-shift clustering is that it does not require you to specify the number of clusters in advance. Instead, it automatically finds the best number of clusters for your data.

DBMS (Data Based Matching Services) based clustering

DBMS clustering is a technique that makes use of a database. It is often used to find clusters in large data sets. It works by creating one table for each cluster that the data points belong to and one table for the entire data set. The clustering algorithm then uses the data set table to find the closest cluster for each data point and the cluster table to find which other data points were assigned to that cluster. DBMS clustering can be used on any type of data, but it is best suited for numerical data. It is often used when you have a large amount of data that you need to organize in some way, such as when working with big data. DBMS clustering is good for categorical data, since the data points are automatically assigned to different clusters. It is not suitable for continuous data, such as financial data where each data point has a specific value.

Finding the most influential user

A social media or online community generates a lot of data that can help you understand its users and their preferences. This can be done by clustering users based on their behaviour. By creating a user cluster, you can find the users who are the most influential in the community. You can do this by measuring the user’s “influence score” by calculating the frequency that he or she is mentioned in posts and the number of likes or comments a user receives on each post. You can then create a graph or chart that shows the relationship between the users. Clustering algorithms can also be used to identify the topics that are most discussed in a community. This can help you to find out what type of content is most relevant to the community and improve your content strategy.

Finding relevant articles for a given topic

With so many articles published every day, it can be challenging to find the best ones to publish on your website. You can use clustering algorithms to group articles by topic. By clustering articles based on their topics, you can find the most relevant articles for each topic. This can help to create balanced and diverse content for your website. By clustering articles and then categorizing them, you can identify the topics that have been covered. You can use this data to find gaps in the content that needs to be covered or to identify topics that you should avoid covering in future articles. Clustering algorithms can also be used to find out which topics get the most attention from readers when they are published. This can help you to identify topics that are likely to be of interest to your audience and to find areas that need improvement.

Finding topics in a blog or news site

If you run a blog or news site, you may want to find the topics that are most popular among your readers. This can help you to decide what types of content to write about in the future. By clustering your articles based on their topics and then categorizing them, you can identify the topics that have been covered. You can use this data to find gaps in the content that needs to be covered or to identify topics that you should avoid covering in future articles. By clustering articles and then categorizing them, you can also identify the topics that are discussed in your articles. This can help you to analyze your content and find out what type of content is most popular, which topics are discussed in your content, and which topics are missing from your articles.

Summary

Clustering is a machine learning technique that is used to group data into categories or clusters. Clustering algorithms discover patterns in data and make predictions about which data points are most likely to be similar. Clustering algorithms work by finding patterns in data and making predictions about which data points are most likely to be similar. Once the algorithm has generated a prediction, it uses that to make a decision about how to group the data. Clustering can be used in different ways, depending on the type of data and the insights you want to uncover. k-means clustering aims to find clusters of data points that are close together, while hierarchical clustering is used for data that already has a natural order to it. Mean-shift clustering is suitable for both continuous and categorical data and DBMS (Data Based Matching Services) based clustering makes use of a database.

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