Minkowski-type theorems and least-squares clustering

F. Aurenhammer, F. Hoffmann, and B. Aronov


Dissecting Euclidean $d$-space with the power diagram of $n$ weighted point sites partitions a given $m$-point set into clusters, one cluster for each region of the diagram. In this manner, an assignment of points to sites is induced. We show the equivalence of such assignments to constrained Euclidean least-squares assignments. As a corollary, there always exists a power diagram whose regions partition a given $d$-dimensional $m$-point set into clusters of prescribed sizes, no matter where the sites are placed. Another consequence is that constrained least-squares assignments can be computed by finding suitable weights for the sites. In the plane, this takes roughly $O(n^2m)$ time and optimal space $O(m)$, which improves on previous methods. We further show that a constrained least-squares assignment can be computed by solving a specially structured linear program in $n+1$ dimensions. This leads to an algorithm for iteratively improving the weights, based on the gradient-descent method. Besides having the obvious optimization property, least-squares assignments are shown to be useful in solving a certain transportation problem, and in finding a least-squares fitting of two point sets where translation and scaling are allowed. Finally, we extend the concept of a constrained least-squares assignment to continuous distributions of points, thereby obtaining existence results for power diagrams with prescribed region volumes. These results are related to Minkowski's theorem for convex polytopes. The aforementioned iterative method for approximating the desired power diagram applies to continuous distributions as well.

Reference: F. Aurenhammer, F. Hoffmann, and B. Aronov. Minkowski-type theorems and least-squares clustering. Algorithmica, 20:61-76, 1998. [SFB Report F003-075, TU Graz, Austria, 1996].