A Non-negative Symmetric Encoder-Decoder Approach for Community Detection

Community detection or graph clustering is crucial to understanding the structure of complex networks and extracting relevant knowledge from networked data. Latent factor model, e.g., non-negative matrix factorization and mixed membership block model, is one of the most successful methods for community detection. Latent factor models for community detection aim to find a distributed and generally low-dimensional representation, or coding, that captures the structural regularity of network and reflects the community membership of nodes. Existing latent factor models are mainly based on reconstructing a network from the representation of its nodes, namely network decoder, while constraining the representation to have certain desirable properties. These methods, however, lack an encoder that transforms nodes into their representation. Consequently, they fail to give a clear explanation about the meaning of a community and suffer from undesired computational problems. In this paper, we propose a non-negative symmetric encoder-decoder approach for community detection. By explicitly integrating a decoder and an encoder into a unified loss function, the proposed approach achieves better performance over state-of-the-art latent factor models for community detection task. Moreover, different from existing methods that explicitly impose the sparsity constraint on the representation of nodes, the proposed approach implicitly achieves the sparsity of node representation through its symmetric and non-negative properties, making the optimization much easier than competing methods based on sparse matrix factorization.

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