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What is clustering?

Clustering is the act of organizing similar objects into groups within a machine learning algorithm. Assigning related objects into clusters is beneficial for AI models. Clustering has many uses in data science, like image processing, knowledge discovery in data, unsupervised learning, and various other applications. Cluster analysis, or clustering, is done by scanning the unlabeled datasets in a machine learning model and setting measurements for specific data point features. The cluster analysis will then classify and place the data points in a group with matching features. Once data has been grouped together, it will be assigned a cluster ID number to help identify the cluster characteristics. Breaking down large, intricate datasets in a machine learning model using the clustering technique can alleviate stress when deciphering complex data.

Examples of clustering

Instances that benefit from data cluster analysis:

  • Optimizing city planning

  • Customizing training sets for professional athletes

  • Detecting spam threats and criminal activity

  • Identifying misinformation

  • Analyzing documents

  • Personalizing advertisements to customers

  • Tracking online business traffic


The capabilities of AI utilizing cluster analysis are expansive. Large machine learning datasets can be compacted and numbered to simplify data tracking. Cluster IDs can transform minute data points into data mining tools that streamline machine learning trend prediction.

Why is clustering important?

When clustering is utilized in AI, scalability increases and automates mundane tasks in data science.

Documenting datasets natural grouping patterns can simplify data collection and application. Through identifying and organizing similar data, companies can optimize research and provide more efficient products. 

Clustering FAQs

Should every machine learning model use clustering?

While clustering is not required to filter and organize data, it could provide previously unidentified data pattern information. Data clustering algorithms can increase a machine learning model’s value by automating data organization. Clustering is recommended, but not mandatory.

What are clustering changes based on?

Clustering updates and changes are based on the most recent documents of an algorithm. If a recluster is needed, previous clusters will need to be redocumented, placing them back into their clusters with any new documents.

When should reclustering take place?

Any removal or addition of documents requires a recluster. Algorithms on the latest documents within a given system. Reclustering and assigning updated documentation will lead to better data clusters. 

Clustering vs Other Technologies & Methodologies

There are various clustering methods, including, but not limited to:

  • K-Means Clustering is an iterative algorithm that scans across all datasets to derive a consensus of the available data, consuming less power and having a faster turnaround than other clustering methods. 

  • Mean-Shift Clustering uses a moving sensor, called a sliding window, to detect dense data point areas. Within the data area, mean-shift clustering will locate its center cluster and clean up surrounding data until an acceptable cluster is formed.

  • Density-Based Clustering identifies large data areas and eliminates small ones. A valuable aspect of density-based clustering lies in going beyond cluster identification. It detects other data points outside of clusters and recognizes them as noise.

  • Hierarchical Clustering organizes and ranks multiple clusters. There are two categories: Agglomerative and Divisive. Agglomerative considers each data point as its own cluster and merges them at each iteration to create the optimal clustering. The Divisive technique is inverse to Agglomerative. Divisive clusters all data points from the start of each iteration, removing irrelevant data points from the cluster.

    Clustering Resources

    To read up more on the most popular clustering technique, K-Meaning, check out’s K-Means Clustering document page.


    To view clustering source code for’s machine learning, review the Source code for h2o.model.clustering document page.