Below is an R implementation of a k-means clustering algorithm written recently for recreational purposes. The algorithm will accept an arbitrary bivariate data set, x, and any integer greater than 1 (the k means) as arguments. The algorithm uses the classic optimizing mechanism:
- Begin by randomly choosing k centers among the n points.
- Group all points to the nearest of these randomly chosen centers.
- Find k new centers as the average of each of the partitions created in step 2.
- Repeat this process until stable.
This process will result in a partition of the original data set that minimizes the sum of square distances between the original n points and the final k means. The code includes a sample data set with 4 obvious clusters. This is only meant as an exercise in demonstrating how intuitive this algorithm actually is. Please defer to kmeans() for all your actual k-means clustering needs. Continue reading