I have a data set where certain rows are labeled as one class (and interpreted as distinct cluster #1 as such), but other points are either unlabeled or ambiguous. Hence I want to figure out which unlabeled data points lie farthest from cluster #1 by sorting them by their respective distance from cluster #1 (more precisely, from the closest point of cluster #1 to the respective unlabeled points).

My first idea would to create a similarity matrix between and calculate the closest distances per unlabeled points from this, but somehow this seems a but clumsy, is there a more elegant/effective way?

(I used to use sklearn for similar tasks, but as far as I know, unsupervised clustering algos don't explicitly provide this kind of specific information.)


1 Answer 1


You want to know the nearest neighbor of you unlabeled data in you labeled cluster. Using sklearn, you can fit a NearestNeighbors() class with a giving metric, algorithm (Ball-tree, KD-tree,...) and all other parameters (see here).

Then get the labeled nearest neighbor from your unlabeled datapoint and its distance by using kneighbors() method.

Here is a sample code:

import numpy as np
from sklearn.neighbors import NearestNeighbors

# Fake data
labeled_samples = [[0, 1.2], [0, 1.3], [0, 1.4]]
unlabeled_samples = [[0, 1.7], [0.5, 0.5], [1, 1]]

# Create your class with your labeled cluster
neigh = NearestNeighbors(n_neighbors=1)

# get the distance/index to the nearest neighbor of you unlabeled data
distances, indexes = neigh.kneighbors(unlabeled_samples, 1, return_distance=True)

Then you just have to sort the result.

Note: using this approach is more optimized than computing all distances from all labeled datapoints and then sort them. See this note for more info.


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