INF 552 Homework Programming Assignment 4: Clustering


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In this assignment, you will implement the K-Means clustering algorithm, as well as use
clustering to solve real-world problems.

1. Implement K-means algorithm

Please use Python 3.6 or 3.7 to implement your homework assignment.

1.1 Data Description

Both blackbox41 and blackbox42 dataset contains 4000 two-dimensional data points. Each of
them contains 4 clusters. What you need to do is to implement K-Means algorithm to find
these 4 clusters among these data points.

1.1.1 Blackbox

The same as last assignment, you are given Blackbox41.pyc instead of ready-made data,
and you need to generate your own data from that blackbox. When you ask the blackbox, it will
return an all 4000 data points as type ndarray. Your python script submitted to Vocareum must
import both blackbox41 and blackbox42 even though blackbox42 is not provided to you.
from Blackbox41 import Blackbox41
from Blackbox42 import Blackbox42

Remember that your code will be run with 2 different boxes. One way to parse the input argument is
blackbox = sys.argv[-1]
if blackbox == ‘blackbox41’:
bb = Blackbox41()
elif blackbox == ‘blackbox42’:
bb = Blackbox42()
print(‘invalid blackbox’)
and then use bb as data source. When you develop your algorithm, you only need to care about
blackbox41, but you also need to import and add additional parsing logic for blackbox42 since
blackbox42 will be used to test your code on Vocareum.

1.1.2 Program

Your program will be run in the following way:
python3 blackbox41
=> results_blackbox41.csv
When we grade your model with hidden blackbox42, it should be run:
python3 blackbox42
=> results_blackbox42.csv

The results_blackbox41.csv results_blackbox42.csv contains “cluster” labels of
each data point you K-means algorithm generated, it should have the following format:


In your implementation, please do not use any existing machine learning library call. You
must implement the algorithm yourself. Please develop your code yourself and do not copy from
other students or from the Internet.

When we grade your algorithm, we will use a hidden blackbox42. Your code will be autograded
for technical correctness. Please name your file correctly, or you will wreak havoc on the
autograder. The maximum running time is 3 minutes.

1.2. Submission:

Submit your code to Vocareum
● Submit to Vocareum
● After your submission, Vocareum would run two scripts to test your code, a submission
script and a grading script. The submission script will test your code with only
blackbox41, while the grading script will test your code with another blackbox42.

● The program will terminate and fail if it exceeds the 3 minutes time limit.
● After the submission script/grading script finishes, you can view your submission report
immediately to see if your code works, while the grading report will be released after the
deadline of the homework.
● You don’t have to keep the page open while the scripts are running.

Submit your report to Blackboard

● Create a single .zip ( which contains:
○ Report.pdf, a brief report contains your clustering graph (sample points and
centroid of each cluster) for blackbox41. Example graph:
● Submit your zipped file to the blackboard.

1.3. Rubric:

50 points in total
○ Program correctness(30 points): program always works correctly and meets the
specifications within the time limit
○ Documentation(10 points): code is well commented and submitted graph is reasonable
○ Performance (10 points): the classifier has reasonable performance
2. User Analysis Using Clustering

2.1 Introduction

In this exercise, you’ll do a data challenge as a data analyst. Specifically, your task is to apply
clustering on real-world users data of Yelp to identify different clusters of users. In this part of
the assignment, you are welcome to use existing machine learning libraries(e.g. sklearn).

Yelp dataset

Yelp dataset can be found on There are
various datasets such as business, reviews and check-ins. But we’ll focus on the “users”
dataset (yelp_academic_dataset_user.json) this time. Description of attributes is as below.
User_id: user id
Name: user name
Review_count: number of user’s reviews
Yelping_since: sign up date of user

Useful: count of receiving “useful” feedback (for the user’s reviews)
Funny: count of receiving “funny” feedback (for the user’s reviews)
Cool: count of receiving “cool” feedback (for the user’s reviews)
Elite: years that the user is part of elite members of Yelp
Friends: list of friends’ user id
Fans: number of fans
Average_stars: average star of reviews

Compliment_hot: count of receiving “hot stuff” compliments (for the user)
Compliment_more: count of receiving “write more” compliments (for the user)
Compliment_profile: count of receiving “like your profile” compliments (for the user)
Compliment_cute: count of receiving “cute pic” compliments (for the user)
Compliment_list: count of receiving “great lists” compliments (for the user)
Compliment_note: count of receiving “just a note” compliments (for the user)
Compliment_plain: count of receiving “thank you” compliments (for the user)
Compliment_cool: count of receiving “you are cool” compliments (for the user)
Compliment_funny: count of receiving “you are funny” compliments (for the user)
Compliment_writer: count of receiving “good writer” compliments (for the user)
Compliment_photos: count of receiving “great photo” compliments (for the user)

2.2 Instructions

Suggested steps:
1. Load the first 100,000 lines of data.
2. Preprocessing the data.
3. Standardize the data.
4. Apply Principal Component Analysis to reduce the dimension of data.
5. Apply clustering on the data.
6. Explain your clusters and findings.

The first 3 steps are easy to understand. For step 4, you should group the attributes according
to their covariance matrix as well as your understanding towards the data, and apply PCA to
each group. For example, you may find Useful, Funny and cool are highly correlated, so you
might want to make them as a group, and use the first principal component of those three
attributes as a factor for clustering.

You can decide the name of this factor, for instance,
review_feedback_factor, that helps you to explain your clusters in the later steps. For step 5, you
use the factors you developed in step 4 for clustering. You are welcome to use more than one
clustering methods and compare the results. For step 6, you need to name and explain your

For example, you find a cluster’s centroid has very high review_feedback_factor and
low review_stars_factor, you can name this cluster of users as strict gourmet, and explains: the
strict gourmet tend to give strict reviews for restaurants, but are highly helpful to customers.

While doing this assignment, just imagine you are a data analyst in the marketing department of
Yelp. Any valuable insights on users may greatly help your company. Do not limit yourself on
the above instructions, you are encouraged to use more methods to enhance your findings and

The most important thing to keep in mind is to have fun with the data.
You’ll need to submit a jupyter notebook (.ipynb) file for this part of the assignment. Conclusion
and findings can be written in the markdown cells. Structure your code and markdown
reasonably among cells and make sure every cell is runnable.

A sample structured notebook(inf552_hw4_yelp_handout.ipynb) is given to you. You can
develop your code based on the given structure.
You can use your local jupyter notebook server or any other servers to finish this assignment,
but it is best if you use the Kaggle Kernel so that you don’t need to download the datasets
(they are really huge) and it also reduces the difficulty for grading. To use the Kaggle kernel,
simply click New Notebook on the Yelp dataset page.

2.3 Suggested Libraries

There are some libraries that you may need to use:
* numpy.cov or pandas.cov for covariance matrix.
* sklearn.decomposition.pca for PCA.
* sklearn.preprocessing.StandardScaler for standardization.
* sklearn.cluster for clustering.
The above libraries are only for reference. It is not mandatory to use those libraries in this part
of assignment.

2.4 Submission

Include your Firstname_Lastname_Yelp.ipynb in the and submit to blackboard.

2.5 Rubric

50 points in total
○ Program correctness(20 points): Demonstrated correct use of PCA and at least one
clustering method.
○ Documentation(10 points): Code is well commented and well structured.
○ Report(20 points): The clusters are reasonable and well explained. The findings are