Provable Estimation of the Number of Blocks in Block Models

Community detection is a fundamental unsupervised learning problem for unlabeled networks which has a broad range of applications. Many community detection algorithms assume that the number of clusters $r$ is known apriori. In this paper, we propose an approach based on semi-definite relaxations, which does not require prior knowledge of model parameters like many existing convex relaxation methods and recovers the number of clusters and the clustering matrix exactly under a broad parameter regime, with probability tending to one. On a variety of simulated and real data experiments, we show that the proposed method often outperforms state-of-the-art techniques for estimating the number of clusters.

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