Information Theoretic Measures for Clusterings Comparison: Variants, Properties, Normalization and Correction for Chance

Nguyen Xuan Vinh, Julien Epps, James Bailey; 11(Oct):2837−2854, 2010.


Information theoretic measures form a fundamental class of measures for comparing clusterings, and have recently received increasing interest. Nevertheless, a number of questions concerning their properties and inter-relationships remain unresolved. In this paper, we perform an organized study of information theoretic measures for clustering comparison, including several existing popular measures in the literature, as well as some newly proposed ones. We discuss and prove their important properties, such as the metric property and the normalization property. We then highlight to the clustering community the importance of correcting information theoretic measures for chance, especially when the data size is small compared to the number of clusters present therein. Of the available information theoretic based measures, we advocate the normalized information distance (NID) as a general measure of choice, for it possesses concurrently several important properties, such as being both a metric and a normalized measure, admitting an exact analytical adjusted-for-chance form, and using the nominal [0,1] range better than other normalized variants.


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