Is an Affine Constraint Needed for Affine Subspace Clustering?

Chong You, Chun-Guang Li, Daniel P. Robinson, Rene Vidal; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), 2019, pp. 9915-9924


Subspace clustering methods based on expressing each data point as a linear combination of other data points have achieved great success in computer vision applications such as motion segmentation, face and digit clustering. In face clustering, the subspaces are linear and subspace clustering methods can be applied directly. In motion segmentation, the subspaces are affine and an additional affine constraint on the coefficients is often enforced. However, since affine subspaces can always be embedded into linear subspaces of one extra dimension, it is unclear if the affine constraint is really necessary. This paper shows, both theoretically and empirically, that when the dimension of the ambient space is high relative to the sum of the dimensions of the affine subspaces, the affine constraint has a negligible effect on clustering performance. Specifically, our analysis provides conditions that guarantee the correctness of affine subspace clustering methods both with and without the affine constraint, and shows that these conditions are satisfied for high-dimensional data. Underlying our analysis is the notion of affinely independent subspaces, which not only provides geometrically interpretable correctness conditions, but also clarifies the relationships between existing results for affine subspace clustering.

Related Material

author = {You, Chong and Li, Chun-Guang and Robinson, Daniel P. and Vidal, Rene},
title = {Is an Affine Constraint Needed for Affine Subspace Clustering?},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)},
month = {October},
year = {2019}