ICML 2023
Conference paper

End-to-end Differentiable Clustering with Associative Memories


Clustering is a widely used unsupervised learning technique involving an intensive discrete optimization problem. Associative Memory models or AMs are differentiable neural networks defining a recursive dynamical system, which have been integrated with various deep learning architectures. We uncover a novel connection between the AM dynamics and the inherent discrete assignment necessary in clustering to propose a novel unconstrained continuous relaxation of the discrete clustering problem, enabling end-to-end differentiable clustering with AM, dubbed ClAM. Leveraging the pattern completion ability of AMs, we further develop a novel self-supervised clustering loss. Our evaluations on varied datasets demonstrate that ClAM benefits from the self-supervision, and significantly improves upon both the traditional Lloyd's k-means algorithm, and more recent continuous clustering relaxations (by upto 60% in terms of the Silhouette Coefficient).