An anchor-based spectral clustering method

  • Qin Zhang
  • Guo-qiang ZhongEmail author
  • Jun-yu Dong


Spectral clustering is one of the most popular and important clustering methods in pattern recognition, machine learning, and data mining. However, its high computational complexity limits it in applications involving truly large-scale datasets. For a clustering problem with n samples, it needs to compute the eigenvectors of the graph Laplacian with O(n3) time complexity. To address this problem, we propose a novel method called anchor-based spectral clustering (ASC) by employing anchor points of data. Specifically, m (mn) anchor points are selected from the dataset, which can basically maintain the intrinsic (manifold) structure of the original data. Then a mapping matrix between the original data and the anchors is constructed. More importantly, it is proved that this data-anchor mapping matrix essentially preserves the clustering structure of the data. Based on this mapping matrix, it is easy to approximate the spectral embedding of the original data. The proposed method scales linearly relative to the size of the data but with low degradation of the clustering performance. The proposed method, ASC, is compared to the classical spectral clustering and two state-of-the-art accelerating methods, i.e., power iteration clustering and landmark-based spectral clustering, on 10 real-world applications under three evaluation metrics. Experimental results show that ASC is consistently faster than the classical spectral clustering with comparable clustering performance, and at least comparable with or better than the state-of-the-art methods on both effectiveness and efficiency.

Key words

Clustering Spectral clustering Graph Laplacian Anchors 

CLC number



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Copyright information

© Editorial Office of Journal of Zhejiang University Science and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer Science and TechnologyOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Science and Information CollegeQingdao Agricultural UniversityQingdaoChina

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