Constrained clustering has been well-studied for algorithms such as $K$-means and hierarchical clustering. However, how to satisfy many constraints in these algorithmic settings has been shown to be intractable. One alternative to encode many constraints is to use spectral clustering, which remains a developing area. In this paper, we propose a flexible framework for constrained spectral clustering. In contrast to some previous efforts that implicitly encode Must-Link and Cannot-Link constraints by modifying the graph Laplacian or constraining the underlying eigenspace, we present a more natural and principled formulation, which explicitly encodes the constraints as part of a constrained optimization problem. Our method offers several practical advantages: it can encode the degree of belief in Must-Link and Cannot-Link constraints; it guarantees to lower-bound how well the given constraints are satisfied using a user-specified threshold; it can be solved deterministically in polynomial time through generalized eigendecomposition. Furthermore, by inheriting the objective function from spectral clustering and encoding the constraints explicitly, much of the existing analysis of unconstrained spectral clustering techniques remains valid for our formulation. We validate the effectiveness of our approach by empirical results on both artificial and real datasets. We also demonstrate an innovative use of encoding large number of constraints: transfer learning via constraints.
A significant challenge to make learning techniques more suitable for general purpose use is to move beyond i) complete supervision, ii) low dimensional data, iii) a single task and single view per instance. Solving these challenges allows working with "Big Data" problems that are typically high dimensional with multiple (but possibly incomplete) labelings and views. While other work has addressed each of these problems separately, in this paper we show how to address them together, namely semi-supervised dimension reduction for multi-task and multi-view learning (SSDR-MML), which performs optimization for dimension reduction and label inference in semi-supervised setting. The proposed framework is designed to handle both multi-task and multi-view learning settings, and can be easily adapted to many useful applications. Information obtained from all tasks and views is combined via reconstruction errors in a linear fashion that can be efficiently solved using an alternating optimization scheme. Our formulation has a number of advantages. We explicitly model the information combining mechanism as a data structure (a weight/nearest-neighbor matrix) which allows investigating fundamental questions in multi-task and multi-view learning. We address one such question by presenting a general measure to quantify the success of simultaneous learning of multiple tasks or from multiple views. We show that our SSDR-MML approach can outperform many state-of-the-art baseline methods and demonstrate the effectiveness of connecting dimension reduction and learning.