Tracking Top-K Influential Vertices in Dynamic Networks

Yu Yang, Zhefeng Wang, Tianyuan Jin, Jian Pei, Enhong Chen

Influence propagation in networks has enjoyed fruitful applications and has been extensively studied in literature. However, only very limited preliminary studies tackled the challenges in handling highly dynamic changes in real networks. In this paper, we tackle the problem of tracking top-$k$ influential vertices in dynamic networks, where the dynamic changes are modeled as a stream of edge weight updates. Under the popularly adopted linear threshold (LT) model and the independent cascade (IC) model, we address two essential versions of the problem: tracking the top-$k$ influential individuals and finding the best $k$-seed set to maximize the influence spread (Influence Maximization). We adopt the polling-based method and maintain a sample of random RR sets so that we can approximate the influence of vertices with provable quality guarantees. It is known that updating RR sets over dynamic changes of a network can be easily done by a reservoir sampling method, so the key challenge is to efficiently decide how many RR sets are needed to achieve good quality guarantees. We use two simple signals, which both can be accessed in $O(1)$ time, to decide a proper number of RR sets. We prove the effectiveness of our methods. For both tasks the error incurred in our method is only a multiplicative factor to the ground truth. For influence maximization, we also propose an efficient query algorithm for finding the $k$ seeds, which is one order of magnitude faster than the state-of-the-art query algorithm in practice. In addition to the thorough theoretical results, our experimental results on large real networks clearly demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of our algorithms.

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