An evaluation study of clustering algorithms in the scope of user communities assessment

, , , , und . Computers & Mathematics with Applications 58 (8): 1498--1519 (2009)


In this paper, we provide the results of ongoing work in Magnet Beyond project, regarding social networking services. We introduce an integrated social networking framework through the definition or the appropriate notions and metrics. This allows one to run an evaluation study of three widely used clustering methods (k-means, hierarchical and spectral clustering) in the scope of social groups assessment and in regard to the cardinality of the profile used to assess users' preferences. Such an evaluation study is performed in the context of our service requirements (i.e. on the basis of equal-sized group formation and of maximization of interests' commonalities between users within each social group). The experimental results indicate that spectral clustering, due to the optimization it offers in terms of normalized cut minimization, is applicable within the context of Magnet Beyond socialization services. Regarding profile's cardinality impact on the system performance, this is shown to be highly dependent on the underlying distribution that characterizes the frequency of user preferences appearance. Our work also incorporates the introduction of a heuristic algorithm that assigns new users that join the service into appropriate social groups, once the service has been initialized and the groups have been assessed using spectral clustering. The results clearly show that our approach is able to adhere to the service requirements as new users join the system, without the need of an iterative spectral clustering application that is computationally demanding.

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