# K-Means Clustering Algorithm

## Jul 28, 2018 13:33 · 788 words · 4 minute read

I was inspired to implement this algorithm due to a couple of reasons. The main one being this video by Siraj Raval. The second reason being that I am interested in learning about the fundamentals of machine learning.

Here is a link to the source code if you are interested.

## K-Means What?

K-Means Clustering is considered an Unsupervised learning algorithm. More specifically it is a clustering algorithm that is able to classify n-dimensional vectors into k distinct groups. This algorithm in particular is considered an NP-hard problem. This essentially means that it cannot be computed in polynomial time without the use of a theoretical non-deterministic computer. To prevent this, most algorithms end up using a heuristic approach which prioritize runtime over complete accuracy (e.g. limit iterations). Unsupervised learning, while ideal, is not nearly as accurate as Supervised learning (in some cases). However, since unsupervised algorithms don’t need to rely on labeled data, this makes them *generally* easier to implement.

## How it works?

Place k random centroid points on the graph.

Repeat the following until specified limit or convergence:

For all points/vectors v in the Matrix: Calculate the distance between each centroid c and v. Take the minimum distance to find the closest centroid. Assign that data point/vector to that cluster that the centroid c represents.

For all clusters: Calculate the average/mean of all the points. Assign those averages as the new centroids for each cluster.

(You can also stop when the clusters stop changing)

## Psuedocode

Here is some “Psuedocode”/JavaScript I wrote that describes (roughly) how I implemented this algorithm:

```
function kMeansClustering(k, limit) {
let centroids = randomCentroids(k)
let clusters = [] // groups of length k
let iteration = 0
while (iteration < limit) {
clusters = clusterPoints(centroids)
centroids = averageClusters(clusters, centroids)
iteration++
}
return clusters
}
function clusterPoints(centroids) {
for (Point p in Matrix) {
let min = Number.MAX_VALUE
let index = -1
for (Centroid c in centroids) {
let distance = EuclideanDist(p, c)
if (distance < min) {
min = distance
index = indexOf(c)
}
}
clusters[index].add(p)
}
}
function averageClusters(clusters, centroids) {
for (Cluster c in clusters) {
let sum = zero_vector
for (Point p in c) {
sum += p
}
let average = sum / c.length
centroids[indexOf(c)] = average
}
}
```

## Example Output

This is an example output after 8 iterations of training. We then classify a random point with the clustered data.

```
Iteration 8:
Cluster 0: (Centroid = [ 439, 476, 685 ])
Point: 0 - [ 506, 620, 838 ]
Point: 1 - [ 415, 344, 542 ]
Point: 2 - [ 527, 308, 966 ]
Point: 3 - [ 493, 201, 883 ]
Point: 4 - [ 544, 945, 826 ]
Point: 5 - [ 925, 323, 577 ]
Point: 6 - [ 373, 457, 876 ]
Point: 7 - [ 303, 527, 500 ]
Point: 8 - [ 361, 773, 527 ]
Point: 9 - [ 328, 267, 729 ]
Point: 10 - [ 502, 953, 956 ]
Point: 11 - [ 466, 971, 670 ]
Cluster 1: (Centroid = [ 40, 71, 222 ])
Point: 0 - [ 21, 137, 284 ]
Point: 1 - [ 101, 77, 382 ]
Point: 2 - [ 140, 274, 7 ]
Cluster 2: (Centroid = [ 449, 56, 189 ])
Point: 0 - [ 674, 122, 436 ]
Point: 1 - [ 674, 46, 133 ]
Point: 2 - [ 551, 69, 379 ]
Cluster 3: (Centroid = [ 631, 538, 153 ])
Point: 0 - [ 935, 985, 211 ]
Point: 1 - [ 641, 816, 238 ]
Point: 2 - [ 483, 386, 108 ]
Point: 3 - [ 830, 520, 172 ]
Point: 4 - [ 757, 632, 190 ]
Point: 5 - [ 771, 430, 153 ]
Point: 6 - [ 860, 449, 303 ]
Cluster 4: (Centroid = [ 88, 520, 225 ])
Point: 0 - [ 63, 530, 347 ]
Point: 1 - [ 70, 623, 339 ]
Point: 2 - [ 212, 530, 394 ]
Point: 3 - [ 97, 919, 49 ]
Point: 4 - [ 18, 759, 140 ]
Classify p: [ 791, 248, 128 ]
Is closest to cluster: 3
```

## Building

If you are interested in building the source code yourself.

Via Docker:

```
# To build the image
make docker-build # OR docker build -t k-means-clustering .
# To build and run the program
make docker-run # OR docker run -it --rm k-means-clustering
```

Via your own compiler:

(This may or may not work depending on your compiler compatibility)

(Travis CI is set up to build for both Clang & GCC)

```
make test && ./bin/all_tests # To run all unit tests
make && ./bin/out # For example output
```