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Spectral Robustness for Correlation Clustering Reconstruction in Semi-Adversarial Models

Flavio Chierichetti · Alessandro Panconesi · Giuseppe Re · Luca Trevisan



Correlation Clustering is an important clustering problem with many applications. We study the reconstruction version of this problem, in which one seeks to reconstruct a latent clustering that has been corrupted by random noise and adversarial modifications. Concerning the latter, there is a standard “post-adversarial” model in the literature, in which adversarial modifications come after the noise. Here, we introduce and analyse a “pre-adversarial” model, in which adversarial modifications come before the noise. Given an input coming from such a semi-adversarial generative model, the goal is to approximately reconstruct with high probability the latent clustering. We focus on the case where the hidden clusters have nearly equal size and show the following. In the pre-adversarial setting, spectral algorithms are optimal, in the sense that they reconstruct all the way to the information-theoretic threshold beyond which no reconstruction is possible. This is in contrast to the post-adversarial setting, in which their ability to restore the hidden clusters stops before the threshold, but the gap is optimally filled by SDP-based algorithms.These results highlight a heretofore unknown robustness of spectral algorithms, showing them less brittle than previously thought.

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