Discovering dynamic communities in interaction networks

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Perustieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
Machine Learning and Data Mining
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Master’s Programme in Machine Learning and Data Mining (Macadamia)
Very often online social networks are defined by aggregating information regarding the interaction between the nodes of the network. For example, a call graph is defined by considering an edge for each pair of individuals who have called each other at least once --- or at least k times. Similarly, an implicit social network in a social-media site is defined by considering an edge for each pair of users who have interacted in some way, e.g., have made a conversation, commented to each other's content, etc. Despite the fact that this type of definitions have been used to obtain a lot of insights regarding the structure of social networks, it is obvious that they suffer from a severe limitation: they neglect the precise time that the interaction between network nodes occurs. In this thesis we propose to study interaction networks, where one considers not only the underlying topology of the social network, but also the exact time instances that nodes interact. In an interaction network an edge is associated with a time stamp, and multiple edges may occur for the same pair of nodes. Consequently, interaction networks offer a more fine-grained representation that can be used to reveal otherwise hidden dynamic phenomena in the network. In the context of interaction networks, we study the problem of discovering communities, which are dense in terms of the underlying network structure, and whose edges occur in short time intervals. Such communities represent groups of individuals who interact with each other in some specific time instances, for example, a group of employees who work on a project and whose interaction intensifies before certain project milestones. We prove that the problem we define is NP-hard, and we provide effective algorithms by adapting techniques used to find dense subgraphs. We perform extensive evaluation of the proposed methods on synthetic and real datasets, which demonstrates the validity of our concepts and the good performance of our algorithms.
Gionis, Aristides
Thesis advisor
Gionis, Aristides
Tatti, Nikolaj
community detection, graph mining, social-network analysis, dynamic graphs, time-evolving networks, interaction networks
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