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      Graph spectra and the detectability of community structure in networks

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          Abstract

          We study networks that display community structure -- groups of nodes within which connections are unusually dense. Using methods from random matrix theory, we calculate the spectra of such networks in the limit of large size, and hence demonstrate the presence of a phase transition in matrix methods for community detection, such as the popular modularity maximization method. The transition separates a regime in which such methods successfully detect the community structure from one in which the structure is present but is not detected. By comparing these results with recent analyses of maximum-likelihood methods we are able to show that spectral modularity maximization is an optimal detection method in the sense that no other method will succeed in the regime where the modularity method fails.

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          Modularity and community structure in networks

           M. Newman (2006)
          Many networks of interest in the sciences, including a variety of social and biological networks, are found to divide naturally into communities or modules. The problem of detecting and characterizing this community structure has attracted considerable recent attention. One of the most sensitive detection methods is optimization of the quality function known as "modularity" over the possible divisions of a network, but direct application of this method using, for instance, simulated annealing is computationally costly. Here we show that the modularity can be reformulated in terms of the eigenvectors of a new characteristic matrix for the network, which we call the modularity matrix, and that this reformulation leads to a spectral algorithm for community detection that returns results of better quality than competing methods in noticeably shorter running times. We demonstrate the algorithm with applications to several network data sets.
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            Community structure in social and biological networks

            A number of recent studies have focused on the statistical properties of networked systems such as social networks and the World-Wide Web. Researchers have concentrated particularly on a few properties which seem to be common to many networks: the small-world property, power-law degree distributions, and network transitivity. In this paper, we highlight another property which is found in many networks, the property of community structure, in which network nodes are joined together in tightly-knit groups between which there are only looser connections. We propose a new method for detecting such communities, built around the idea of using centrality indices to find community boundaries. We test our method on computer generated and real-world graphs whose community structure is already known, and find that it detects this known structure with high sensitivity and reliability. We also apply the method to two networks whose community structure is not well-known - a collaboration network and a food web - and find that it detects significant and informative community divisions in both cases.
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              Community detection in graphs

              The modern science of networks has brought significant advances to our understanding of complex systems. One of the most relevant features of graphs representing real systems is community structure, or clustering, i. e. the organization of vertices in clusters, with many edges joining vertices of the same cluster and comparatively few edges joining vertices of different clusters. Such clusters, or communities, can be considered as fairly independent compartments of a graph, playing a similar role like, e. g., the tissues or the organs in the human body. Detecting communities is of great importance in sociology, biology and computer science, disciplines where systems are often represented as graphs. This problem is very hard and not yet satisfactorily solved, despite the huge effort of a large interdisciplinary community of scientists working on it over the past few years. We will attempt a thorough exposition of the topic, from the definition of the main elements of the problem, to the presentation of most methods developed, with a special focus on techniques designed by statistical physicists, from the discussion of crucial issues like the significance of clustering and how methods should be tested and compared against each other, to the description of applications to real networks.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                08 May 2012
                Article
                10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.188701
                1205.1813

                http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

                Custom metadata
                Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 188701 (2012)
                5 pages, 2 figures
                cs.SI cond-mat.stat-mech physics.soc-ph

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