Clustering Network Layers With the Strata Multilayer Stochastic Block Model

7 Jul 2015  ·  Natalie Stanley, Saray Shai, Dane Taylor, Peter J. Mucha ·

Multilayer networks are a useful data structure for simultaneously capturing multiple types of relationships between a set of nodes. In such networks, each relational definition gives rise to a layer. While each layer provides its own set of information, community structure across layers can be collectively utilized to discover and quantify underlying relational patterns between nodes. To concisely extract information from a multilayer network, we propose to identify and combine sets of layers with meaningful similarities in community structure. In this paper, we describe the "strata multilayer stochastic block model'' (sMLSBM), a probabilistic model for multilayer community structure. The central extension of the model is that there exist groups of layers, called "strata'', which are defined such that all layers in a given stratum have community structure described by a common stochastic block model (SBM). That is, layers in a stratum exhibit similar node-to-community assignments and SBM probability parameters. Fitting the sMLSBM to a multilayer network provides a joint clustering that yields node-to-community and layer-to-stratum assignments, which cooperatively aid one another during inference. We describe an algorithm for separating layers into their appropriate strata and an inference technique for estimating the SBM parameters for each stratum. We demonstrate our method using synthetic networks and a multilayer network inferred from data collected in the Human Microbiome Project.

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