SPECTRE: Seedless Network Alignment via Spectral Centralities

Mikhail Hayhoe, Francisco Barreras, Hamed Hassani, Victor M. Preciado

Network alignment consists of finding a structure-preserving correspondence between the nodes of two correlated, but not necessarily identical, networks. This problem finds applications in a wide variety of fields, from the alignment of proteins in computational biology, to the de-anonymization of social networks, as well as recognition tasks in computer vision. In this work we introduce SPECTRE, a scalable algorithm that uses spectral centrality measures and percolation techniques. Unlike most network alignment algorithms, SPECTRE requires no seeds (i.e., pairs of nodes identified beforehand), which in many cases are expensive, or impossible, to obtain. Instead, SPECTRE generates an initial noisy seed set via spectral centrality measures which is then used to robustly grow a network alignment via bootstrap percolation techniques. We show that, while this seed set may contain a majority of incorrect pairs, SPECTRE is still able to obtain a high-quality alignment. Through extensive numerical simulations, we show that SPECTRE allows for fast run times and high accuracy on large synthetic and real-world networks, even those which do not exhibit a high correlation.

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