Clustering or cluster analysis is a machine learning technique, which groups the unlabelled dataset. It can be defined as "A way of grouping the data points into different clusters, consisting of similar data points. The objects with the possible similarities remain in a group that has less or no similarities with another group."

It does it by finding some similar patterns in the unlabelled dataset such as shape, size, color, behavior, etc., and divides them as per the presence and absence of those similar patterns.

It is an unsupervised learning method, hence no supervision is provided to the algorithm, and it deals with the unlabeled dataset.

After applying this clustering technique, each cluster or group is provided with a cluster-ID. ML system can use this id to simplify the processing of large and complex datasets.

The clustering technique is commonly used for statistical data analysis.

Example: Let's understand the clustering technique with the real-world example of Mall: When we visit any shopping mall, we can observe that the things with similar usage are grouped together. Such as the t-shirts are grouped in one section, and trousers are at other sections, similarly, at vegetable sections, apples, bananas, Mangoes, etc., are grouped in separate sections, so that we can easily find out the things. The clustering technique also works in the same way. Other examples of clustering are grouping documents according to the topic.

The clustering technique can be widely used in various tasks. Some most common uses of this technique are:

  • • Market Segmentation
  • • Statistical data analysis
  • • Social network analysis
  • • Image segmentation
  • • Anomaly detection, etc.

Apart from these general usages, it is used by the Amazon in its recommendation system to provide the recommendations as per the past search of products. Netflix also uses this technique to recommend the movies and web-series to its users as per the watch history.

The below diagram explains the working of the clustering algorithm. We can see the different fruits are divided into several groups with similar properties.


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