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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access August 18, 2017

A simple spectral algorithm for recovering planted partitions

  • Sam Cole EMAIL logo , Shmuel Friedland and Lev Reyzin
From the journal Special Matrices


In this paper, we consider the planted partition model, in which n = ks vertices of a random graph are partitioned into k “clusters,” each of size s. Edges between vertices in the same cluster and different clusters are included with constant probability p and q, respectively (where 0 ≤ q < p ≤ 1). We give an efficient algorithm that, with high probability, recovers the clusters as long as the cluster sizes are are least (√n). Informally, our algorithm constructs the projection operator onto the dominant k-dimensional eigenspace of the graph’s adjacency matrix and uses it to recover one cluster at a time. To our knowledge, our algorithm is the first purely spectral algorithm which runs in polynomial time and works even when s = Θ (√n), though there have been several non-spectral algorithms which accomplish this. Our algorithm is also among the simplest of these spectral algorithms, and its proof of correctness illustrates the usefulness of the Cauchy integral formula in this domain.


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Received: 2016-11-24
Accepted: 2017-07-14
Published Online: 2017-08-18
Published in Print: 2017-01-26

© 2017

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.

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