Using core-periphery structure to predict high centrality nodes in time-varying networks

Soumya Sarkar, Sandipan Sikdar, Sanjukta Bhowmick, Animesh Mukherjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Vertices with high betweenness and closeness centrality represent influential entities in a network. An important problem for time varying networks is to know a-priori, using minimal computation, whether the influential vertices of the current time step will retain their high centrality, in the future time steps, as the network evolves. In this paper, based on empirical evidences from several large real world time varying networks, we discover a certain class of networks where the highly central vertices are part of the innermost core of the network and this property is maintained over time. As a key contribution of this work, we propose novel heuristics to identify these networks in an optimal fashion and also develop a two-step algorithm for predicting high centrality vertices. Consequently, we show for the first time that for such networks, expensive shortest path computations in each time step as the network changes can be completely avoided; instead we can use time series models (e.g., ARIMA as used here) to predict the overlap between the high centrality vertices in the current time step to the ones in the future time steps. Moreover, once the new network is available in time, we can find the high centrality vertices in the top core simply based on their high degree. To measure the effectiveness of our framework, we perform prediction task on a large set of diverse time-varying networks. We obtain F1-scores as high as 0.81 and 0.72 in predicting the top m closeness and betweenness centrality vertices respectively for real networks where the highly central vertices mostly reside in the innermost core. For synthetic networks that conform to this property we achieve F1-scores of 0.94 and 0.92 for closeness and betweenness respectively. We validate our results by showing that the practical effects of our predicted vertices match the effects of the actual high centrality vertices. Finally, we also provide a formal sketch demonstrating why our method works.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1368-1396
Number of pages29
JournalData Mining and Knowledge Discovery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Centrality
  • Core periphery
  • Network analysis
  • Prediction
  • Temporal and time series data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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