Defining and evaluating network communities based on ground-truth

Jaewon Yang, Jure Leskovec
2013 Knowledge and Information Systems  
Nodes in real-world networks organize into densely linked communities where edges appear with high concentration among the members of the community. Identifying such communities of nodes has proven to be a challenging task mainly due to a plethora of definitions of a community, intractability of algorithms, issues with evaluation and the lack of a reliable gold-standard ground-truth. In this paper we study a set of 230 large real-world social, collaboration and information networks where nodes
more » ... xplicitly state their group memberships. For example, in social networks nodes explicitly join various interest based social groups. We use such groups to define a reliable and robust notion of ground-truth communities. We then propose a methodology which allows us to compare and quantitatively evaluate how different structural definitions of network communities correspond to ground-truth communities. We choose 13 commonly used structural definitions of network communities and examine their sensitivity, robustness and performance in identifying the ground-truth. We show that the 13 structural definitions are heavily correlated and naturally group into four classes. We find that two of these definitions, Conductance and Triad-participation-ratio, consistently give the best performance in identifying ground-truth communities. We also investigate a task of detecting communities given a single seed node. We extend the local spectral clustering algorithm into a heuristic parameter-free community detection method that easily scales to networks with more than hundred million nodes. The proposed method achieves 30% relative improvement over current local clustering methods.
doi:10.1007/s10115-013-0693-z fatcat:c3y3mrlnhfdjjeo2qsckif6glq