Core-sets: An updated survey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In optimization or machine learning problems we are given a set of items, usually points in some metric space, and the goal is to minimize or maximize an objective function over some space of candidate solutions. For example, in clustering problems, the input is a set of points in some metric space, and a common goal is to compute a set of centers in some other space (points, lines) that will minimize the sum of distances to these points. In database queries, we may need to compute such a some for a specific query set of k centers. However, traditional algorithms cannot handle modern systems that require parallel real-time computations of infinite distributed streams from sensors such as GPS, audio or video that arrive to a cloud, or networks of weaker devices such as smartphones or robots. Core-set is a “small data” summarization of the input “big data,” where every possible query has approximately the same answer on both data sets. Generic techniques enable efficient coreset maintenance of streaming, distributed and dynamic data. Traditional algorithms can then be applied on these coresets to maintain the approximated optimal solutions. The challenge is to design coresets with provable tradeoff between their size and approximation error. This survey summarizes such constructions in a retrospective way, that aims to unified and simplify the state-of-the-art. This article is categorized under Algorithmic Development > Structure Discovery Fundamental Concepts of Data and Knowledge > Big Data Mining Technologies > Machine Learning Algorithmic Development > Scalable Statistical Methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1335
Pages (from-to)1—18
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
information Simons Foundation

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • big data
  • cloud
  • coresets
  • distributed computation
  • streaming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (all)


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