Beyond the adjacency matrix: random line graphs and inference for networks with edge attributes

Zachary Lubberts, Avanti Athreya, Youngser Park, Carey E. Priebe

Any modern network inference paradigm must incorporate multiple aspects of network structure, including information that is often encoded both in vertices and in edges. Methodology for handling vertex attributes has been developed for a number of network models, but comparable techniques for edge-related attributes remain largely unavailable. We address this gap in the literature by extending the latent position random graph model to the line graph of a random graph, which is formed by creating a vertex for each edge in the original random graph, and connecting each pair of edges incident to a common vertex in the original graph. We prove concentration inequalities for the spectrum of a line graph, and then establish that although naive spectral decompositions can fail to extract necessary signal for edge clustering, there exist signal-preserving singular subspaces of the line graph that can be recovered through a carefully-chosen projection. Moreover, we can consistently estimate edge latent positions in a random line graph, even though such graphs are of a random size, typically have high rank, and possess no spectral gap. Our results also demonstrate that the line graph of a stochastic block model exhibits underlying block structure, and we synthesize and test our methods in simulations for cluster recovery and edge covariate inference in stochastic block model graphs.

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