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A bi-directional approach to comparing the modular structure of networks

Straulino, D; Landman, M; O’Clery, N; (2021) A bi-directional approach to comparing the modular structure of networks. EPJ Data Science , 10 , Article 13. 10.1140/epjds/s13688-021-00269-8. Green open access

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Abstract

Here we propose a new method to compare the modular structure of a pair of node-aligned networks. The majority of current methods, such as normalized mutual information, compare two node partitions derived from a community detection algorithm yet ignore the respective underlying network topologies. Addressing this gap, our method deploys a community detection quality function to assess the fit of each node partition with respect to the other network’s connectivity structure. Specifically, for two networks A and B, we project the node partition of B onto the connectivity structure of A. By evaluating the fit of B’s partition relative to A’s own partition on network A (using a standard quality function), we quantify how well network A describes the modular structure of B. Repeating this in the other direction, we obtain a two-dimensional distance measure, the bi-directional (BiDir) distance. The advantages of our methodology are three-fold. First, it is adaptable to a wide class of community detection algorithms that seek to optimize an objective function. Second, it takes into account the network structure, specifically the strength of the connections within and between communities, and can thus capture differences between networks with similar partitions but where one of them might have a more defined or robust community structure. Third, it can also identify cases in which dissimilar optimal partitions hide the fact that the underlying community structure of both networks is relatively similar. We illustrate our method for a variety of community detection algorithms, including multi-resolution approaches, and a range of both simulated and real world networks.

Type: Article
Title: A bi-directional approach to comparing the modular structure of networks
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1140/epjds/s13688-021-00269-8
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1140/epjds/s13688-021-00269-8
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Networks, Modular structure, Network comparison
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10123987
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