Newton’s Gravitational Law for Link Prediction in Social Networks

Springer Verlag
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Complex Networks & Their Applications VI Proceedings of Complex Networks 2017 (The Sixth International Conference on Complex Networks and Their Applications) (SCI 689), 2018, 689 pp. 93 - 104
Issue Date:
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Link prediction is an important research area in network science due to a wide range of real-world application. There are a number of link prediction methods. In the area of social networks, these methods are mostly inspired by social theory, such as having more mutual friends between two people in a social network platform entails higher probability of those two people becoming friends in the future. In this paper we take our inspiration from a different area, which is Newton’s law of universal gravitation. Although this law deals with physical bodies, based on our intuition and empirical results we found that this could also work in networks, and especially in social networks. In order to apply this law, we had to endow nodes with the notion of mass and distance. While node importance could be considered as mass, the shortest path, path count, or inverse similarity (AdamicAdar, Katz score etc.) could be considered as distance. In our analysis, we have primarily used degree centrality to denote the mass of the nodes, while the lengths of shortest paths between them have been used as distances. In this study we compare the proposed link prediction approach to 7 other methods on 4 datasets from various domains. To this end, we use the ROC curves and the AUC measure to compare the methods. As the results show that our approach outperforms the other 7 methods on 2 out of the 4 datasets, we also discuss the potential reasons of the observed behaviour.
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