I am trying to determine the optimal value of k. I have used a graph to plot the SSE against the values of k.

Using the elbow method, what would be the optimal value of k? I am unsure as to whether 7 or 8 would be most suitable because the line changes significantly at several points.

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  • $\begingroup$ As long as you increase k, the error will decreases as well. It stops when k=n. It is a trade-off between low error and low complexity. $\endgroup$ – aminrd Nov 21 '19 at 1:26

The elbow method is not a well-defined algorithm that provides an unambiguous result. Rather, it is a heuristic that involves subjective interpretation. As Wikipedia says, "it is often ambiguous and not very reliable". So, there is no one answer to your question. And, your plot shows an example of a situation that the elbow method is not well-suited to.


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