Distance metrics

L-p metrics

Manhattan distance (L1)

Given two vectors \(p\) and \(q\), such that

\[ \begin{aligned} p &= \left(p_1, p_2, \dots,p_n\right) \\ q &= \left(q_1, q_2, \dots,q_n\right) \end{aligned} \]

we define the Manhattan distance as:

\[ d_1(p, q) = \|p - q\|_1 = \sum_{i=1}^n |p_i-q_i| \]

Euclidean distance (L2)

In general, for points given by Cartesian coordinates in \(n\)-dimensional Euclidean space, the distance is

\[ d(p,q)=\sqrt {(p_{1}-q_{1})^{2}+(p_{2}-q_{2})^{2}+\cdots +(p_{i}-q_{i})^{2}+\cdots +(p_{n}-q_{n})^{2}} \]

Cluster distances

Within-cluster sum of squares (WCSS)

Given a set of observations (\(x_1, x_2,\dots,x_n\)), where each observation is a \(d\)-dimensional real vector, \(k\)-means clustering aims to partition the \(n\) observations into \(k\) (\(\leq n\)) sets \(S=\lbrace S_1, S_2, \dots, S_k\rbrace\) so as to minimize the within-cluster sum of squares (WCSS) (i.e. variance). Formally, the objective is to find:

\[ {\underset {\mathbf {S} }{\operatorname {arg\,min} }}\sum _{i=1}^{k}\sum _{\mathbf {x} \in S_{i}}\left\|\mathbf {x} -{\boldsymbol {\mu }}_{i}\right\|^{2}={\underset {\mathbf {S} }{\operatorname {arg\,min} }}\sum _{i=1}^{k}|S_{i}|\operatorname {Var} S_{i} \]

where \(\mu_i\) is the mean of points in \(S_i\). This is equivalent to minimizing the pairwise squared deviations of points in the same cluster:

\[ {\displaystyle {\underset {\mathbf {S} }{\operatorname {arg\,min} }}\sum _{i=1}^{k}\,{\frac {1}{2|S_{i}|}}\,\sum _{\mathbf {x} ,\mathbf {y} \in S_{i}}\left\|\mathbf {x} -\mathbf {y} \right\|^{2}} \]

The equivalence can be deduced from identity

\[ \]

Because the total variance is constant, this is equivalent to maximizing the sum of squared deviations between points in different clusters (between-cluster sum of squares, BCSS) which follows from the law of total variance.

Dunn index

A full explanation is available at Dunn index.

Gower distance

A full explanation with examples is available at Gower distance.