D. Hric – Network structure, metadata, and the prediction of missing nodes and annotations

Darko Hric (Aalto)

Monday 2016-09-12 11.00 – 12.00

Lecture hall AS3, TUAS building

Network structure, metadata, and the prediction of missing nodes and annotations


The empirical validation of community detection methods is often based on available annotations on the nodes that serve as putative indicators of the large-scale network structure. Most often, the suitability of the annotations as topological descriptors itself is not assessed, and without this it is not possible to ultimately distinguish between actual shortcomings of the community detection algorithms, on one hand, and the incompleteness, inaccuracy, or structured nature of the data annotations themselves, on the other. In this work we present a principled method to access both aspects simultaneously. We construct a joint generative model for the data and metadata, and a non-parametric Bayesian framework to infer its parameters from annotated data sets. We assess the quality of the metadata not according to its direct alignment with the network communities, but rather in its capacity to predict the placement of edges in the network. We also show how this feature can be used to predict the connections to missing nodes when only the metadata are available. By investigating a wide range of data sets, we show that while there are seldom exact agreements between metadata tokens and the inferred data groups, the metadata are often informative of the network structure nevertheless, and can improve the prediction of missing nodes. This shows that the method uncovers meaningful patterns in both the data and metadata, without requiring or expecting a perfect agreement between the two.