Abstract: Network growth processes can be understood as generative models of the structure and history of complex networks. This point of view naturally leads to the problem of network archaeology: Reconstructing all the past states of a network from its structure---a difficult permutation inference problem. In this paper, we introduce a Bayesian formulation of network archaeology, with a generalization of preferential attachment as our generative mechanism. We develop a sequential importance sampling algorithm to evaluate the posterior averages of this model, as well as an efficient heuristic that uncovers the history of a network in linear time. We use these methods to identify and characterize a phase transition in the quality of the reconstructed history, when they are applied to artificial networks generated by the model itself. Despite the existence of a no-recovery phase, we find that non-trivial inference is possible in a large portion of the parameter space as well as on empirical data.
Abstract: Recent empirical work highlights the heterogeneity of social competitions such as political campaigns: proponents of some ideologies seek debate and conversation, others create echo chambers. While symmetric and static network structure is typically used as a substrate to study such competitor dynamics, network structure can instead be interpreted as a signature of the competitor strategies, yielding competition dynamics on adaptive networks. Here we demonstrate that tradeoffs between aggressiveness and defensiveness (i.e., targeting adversaries vs. targeting like-minded individuals) creates paradoxical behaviour such as non-transitive dynamics. And while there is an optimal strategy in a two competitor system, three competitor systems have no such solution; the introduction of extreme strategies can easily affect the outcome of a competition, even if the extreme strategies have no chance of winning. Not only are these results reminiscent of classic paradoxical results from evolutionary game theory, but the structure of social networks created by our model can be mapped to particular forms of payoff matrices. Consequently, social structure can act as a measurable metric for social games which in turn allows us to provide a game theoretical perspective on online political debates.
Abstract: It has been shown in recent years that the stochastic block model is sometimes undetectable in the sparse limit, i.e., that no algorithm can identify a partition correlated with the partition used to generate an instance, if the instance is sparse enough and infinitely large. In this contribution, we treat the finite case explicitly, using arguments drawn from information theory and statistics. We give a necessary condition for finite-size detectability in the general SBM. We then distinguish the concept of average detectability from the concept of instance-by-instance detectability and give explicit formulas for both definitions. Using these formulas, we prove that there exist large equivalence classes of parameters, where widely different network ensembles are equally detectable with respect to our definitions of detectability. In an extensive case study, we investigate the finite-size detectability of a simplified variant of the SBM, which encompasses a number of important models as special cases. These models include the symmetric SBM, the planted coloring model, and more exotic SBMs not previously studied. We conclude with three appendices, where we study the interplay of noise and detectability, establish a connection between our information-theoretic approach and random matrix theory, and provide proofs of some of the more technical results.
Abstract: We introduce an intuitive model that describes both the emergence of community structure and the evolution of the internal structure of communities in growing social networks. The model comprises two complementary mechanisms: One mechanism accounts for the evolution of the internal link structure of a single community, and the second mechanism coordinates the growth of multiple overlapping communities. The first mechanism is based on the assumption that each node establishes links with its neighbors and introduces new nodes to the community at different rates. We demonstrate that this simple mechanism gives rise to an effective maximal degree within communities. This observation is related to the anthropological theory known as Dunbar's number, i.e., the empirical observation of a maximal number of ties which an average individual can sustain within its social groups. The second mechanism is based on a recently proposed generalization of preferential attachment to community structure, appropriately called structural preferential attachment (SPA). The combination of these two mechanisms into a single model (SPA+) allows us to reproduce a number of the global statistics of real networks: The distribution of community sizes, of node memberships and of degrees. The SPA+ model also predicts (a) three qualitative regimes for the degree distribution within overlapping communities and (b) strong correlations between the number of communities to which a node belongs and its number of connections within each community. We present empirical evidence that support our findings in real complex networks.
Abstract: Scale independence is a ubiquitous feature of complex systems that implies a highly skewed distribution of resources with no characteristic scale. Research has long focused on why systems as varied as protein networks, evolution, and stock actions all feature scale independence. Assuming that they simply do, we focus here on describing how this behavior emerges, in contrast to more idealized models usually considered. We arrive at the conjecture that a minimal model to explain the growth toward scale independence involves only two coupled dynamical features: the first is the well-known preferential attachment principle, and the second is a general form of delayed temporal scaling. While the first is sufficient, the second is present in all studied data and appears to maximize the speed of convergence to true scale independence. The delay in this temporal scaling acts as a coupling between population growth and individual activity. Together, these two dynamical properties appear to pave a precise evolution path, such that even an instantaneous snapshot of a distribution is enough to reconstruct the past of the system and predict its future. We validate our approach and confirm its usefulness in diverse spheres of human activities, ranging from scientific and artistic productivity to sexual relations and online traffic.