Online Community Detection for Event Streams on Networks

A common goal in network modeling is to uncover the latent community structure present among nodes. For many real-world networks, observed connections consist of events arriving as streams, which are then aggregated to form edges, ignoring the temporal dynamic component. A natural way to take account of this temporal dynamic component of interactions is to use point processes as the foundation of the network models for community detection. Computational complexity hampers the scalability of such approaches to large sparse networks. To circumvent this challenge, we propose a fast online variational inference algorithm for learning the community structure underlying dynamic event arrivals on a network using continuous-time point process latent network models. We provide regret bounds on the loss function of this procedure, giving theoretical guarantees on performance. The proposed algorithm is illustrated, using both simulation studies and real data, to have comparable performance in terms of community structure in terms of community recovery to non-online variants. Our proposed framework can also be readily modified to incorporate other popular network structures.

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