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Streaming Coreset Constructions for M-Estimators

Authors Vladimir Braverman, Dan Feldman, Harry Lang, Daniela Rus

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Vladimir Braverman
  • Department of Computer Science, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA
Dan Feldman
  • Department of Computer Science, University of Haifa, Israel
Harry Lang
  • MIT CSAIL, Cambridge, MA, USA
Daniela Rus
  • MIT CSAIL, Cambridge, MA, USA

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Vladimir Braverman, Dan Feldman, Harry Lang, and Daniela Rus. Streaming Coreset Constructions for M-Estimators. In Approximation, Randomization, and Combinatorial Optimization. Algorithms and Techniques (APPROX/RANDOM 2019). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 145, pp. 62:1-62:15, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2019)


We introduce a new method of maintaining a (k,epsilon)-coreset for clustering M-estimators over insertion-only streams. Let (P,w) be a weighted set (where w : P - > [0,infty) is the weight function) of points in a rho-metric space (meaning a set X equipped with a positive-semidefinite symmetric function D such that D(x,z) <=rho(D(x,y) + D(y,z)) for all x,y,z in X). For any set of points C, we define COST(P,w,C) = sum_{p in P} w(p) min_{c in C} D(p,c). A (k,epsilon)-coreset for (P,w) is a weighted set (Q,v) such that for every set C of k points, (1-epsilon)COST(P,w,C) <= COST(Q,v,C) <= (1+epsilon)COST(P,w,C). Essentially, the coreset (Q,v) can be used in place of (P,w) for all operations concerning the COST function. Coresets, as a method of data reduction, are used to solve fundamental problems in machine learning of streaming and distributed data. M-estimators are functions D(x,y) that can be written as psi(d(x,y)) where ({X}, d) is a true metric (i.e. 1-metric) space. Special cases of M-estimators include the well-known k-median (psi(x) =x) and k-means (psi(x) = x^2) functions. Our technique takes an existing offline construction for an M-estimator coreset and converts it into the streaming setting, where n data points arrive sequentially. To our knowledge, this is the first streaming construction for any M-estimator that does not rely on the merge-and-reduce tree. For example, our coreset for streaming metric k-means uses O(epsilon^{-2} k log k log n) points of storage. The previous state-of-the-art required storing at least O(epsilon^{-2} k log k log^{4} n) points.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Streaming models
  • Theory of computation → Facility location and clustering
  • Information systems → Query optimization
  • Streaming
  • Clustering
  • Coresets


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