[R] PAM: how to get the best number of clusters
Dave Roberts
droberts at montana.edu
Sat Nov 1 00:28:14 CET 2008
Maura,
No, in general it is not possible. Depending on your
goodnessofclustering metric (and there are many besides silhouette
width), the results may demonstrate multiple peaks and be severely
nonmonotonic. Perhaps more problematic, silhouette width is especially
difficult. It is local, as opposed to global, so that it only compares
an object to the cluster to which it is assigned and to the most similar
cluster. Each object in a cluster may be most similar to a different
cluster, so that reassigning a single plot from one cluster to another
requires recalculating the whole mess for all clusters. In addition,
despite the utility of a mean silhouette width, it is insufficient as a
metric in that many different solutions might give the same mean
silhouette width and yet be very different in numbers of reversals
(negative silhouette widths) or variance in withincluster silhouette
width. The beauty of the silhouette width concept is the plot, and that
means you have to actually look at the plot of the solution, and not
simply accept a mean silhouette width.
I think you need to consider realistically how many clusters you
want, and limit yor consideration to solutions of approximately that number.
Good luck, Dave R.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
David W. Roberts office 4069944548
Professor and Head FAX 4069943190
Department of Ecology email droberts at montana.edu
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 597173460
Maura E Monville wrote:
> My problem is that I have already a distance (similarity) matrix generated
> outside R through a C++ code because the criteria to calculate the
> "distance" between pairs of objects are none of the standard criteria
> implemented in R.
> If I got it right, but I might be mistaken, stepFlexclust() performs the
> clusters layout optimization by calling either one of kcca or cclust which
> calculate their own similarity matrix.
> I just need a function or method to optimize the clusters number no matter
> how the similarity matrix has been generated and no matter which clustering
> function I use (PAM).
> Is this at all possible ?
>
> Thank you very much,
> Maura
>
>
>
> On Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 12:18 AM, Dylan Beaudette <dylan.beaudette at gmail.com
>> wrote:
>
>> On Thursday 30 October 2008, Maura E Monville wrote:
>>> I have the book you mentioned. It basically describes the silhouette
>>> method. I do not have it handy as I moved so it is still in some box.
>>> However I cannot remember that book providing any other criterion to find
>>> the best clusters number.
>>> On the other hand I have the same problem with hierarchical clustering
>>> techniques.
>>> I use clusters as exploratory analysis because I do not have any apriori
>>> knowledge that helps me make a choice.
>>> How can multivariate analysis help?
>>> I launched a loop where the silhouette test follows PAM which is passed a
>>> clusters number increased by 1 at each iteration.
>>> Since I am observing that the silhouette value is now oscillating among
>>> negative numbers, I wonder whether I can assume that it can only grow
>> worse
>>> once it has turned negative the first time so leave the loop after the
>>> first negative number and choose the clusters number associated with the
>>> biggest positive silhouette value.
>>> This procedure would spare a lot of CPU time.
>> Another approach might involve the stepFlexclust() from the flexclust
>> package.
>> See the manual page for this function for examples.
>>
>> Dylan
>>
>>
>>> Thank you very much,
>>> Maura
>>>
>>> On Thu, Oct 30, 2008 at 7:25 PM, Dylan Beaudette
>>>
>>> <dylan.beaudette at gmail.com>wrote:
>>>> On Thursday 30 October 2008, Maura E Monville wrote:
>>>>> I have a pretty big similarity matrix (2870x2870). I will produce
>> even
>>>>> bigger ones soon.
>>>>> I am using PAM to generate clusters.
>>>>> The desired number of output clusters is a PAM input parameter.
>>>>> I do not know apriopri what is the best clusters layout .
>>>>> I resorted to the silhouette test. It takes forever as I have to run
>>>>> PAM with all possible
>>>>> numbers of clusters.
>>>>> I wonder whether there is some faster method, either a s/w code or
>> some
>>>>> theoretical guidelines,
>>>>> to get the optimum clusters number.
>>>>>
>>>>> Thank you very much,
>>>> This is a very general topic in the field of multivariate analysis.
>> There
>>>> really isn't any way to know the 'correct' number of clusters, however
>>>> there
>>>> are several metrics that can give you an indication of how messy your
>>>> data are.
>>>>
>>>> For information on the methods in the cluster package, see this book:
>>>>
>>>> Kaufman, L. & Rousseeuw, P. J. Finding Groups in Data An Introduction
>> to
>>>> Cluster Analysis WileyInterscience, 2005
>>>>
>>>> Otherwise, consider a book on multivariate analysis. Alternatively, try
>> a
>>>> hierarchical clustering approach, and look for meaningful groupings.
>> Some
>>>> thing like this:
>>>>
>>>> d < diana(daisy(your_data_matrix))
>>>> d.hc < as.hclust(d)
>>>>
>>>> d.hc$labels < your_data_matrix$id
>>>>
>>>> plot(d.hc)
>>>>
>>>> Cheers,
>>>>
>>>> Dylan
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> 
>>>> Dylan Beaudette
>>>> Soil Resource Laboratory
>>>> http://casoilresource.lawr.ucdavis.edu/
>>>> University of California at Davis
>>>> 530.754.7341
>>
>>
>> 
>> Dylan Beaudette
>> Soil Resource Laboratory
>> http://casoilresource.lawr.ucdavis.edu/
>> University of California at Davis
>> 530.754.7341
>>
>
>
>

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