A Survey on Role-Oriented Network Embedding

Pengfei Jiao, Xuan Guo, Ting Pan, Wang Zhang, Yulong Pei

Recently, Network Embedding (NE) has become one of the most attractive research topics in machine learning and data mining. NE approaches have achieved promising performance in various of graph mining tasks including link prediction and node clustering and classification. A wide variety of NE methods focus on the proximity of networks. They learn community-oriented embedding for each node, where the corresponding representations are similar if two nodes are closer to each other in the network. Meanwhile, there is another type of structural similarity, i.e., role-based similarity, which is usually complementary and completely different from the proximity. In order to preserve the role-based structural similarity, the problem of role-oriented NE is raised. However, compared to community-oriented NE problem, there are only a few role-oriented embedding approaches proposed recently. Although less explored, considering the importance of roles in analyzing networks and many applications that role-oriented NE can shed light on, it is necessary and timely to provide a comprehensive overview of existing role-oriented NE methods. In this review, we first clarify the differences between community-oriented and role-oriented network embedding. Afterwards, we propose a general framework for understanding role-oriented NE and a two-level categorization to better classify existing methods. Then, we select some representative methods according to the proposed categorization and briefly introduce them by discussing their motivation, development and differences. Moreover, we conduct comprehensive experiments to empirically evaluate these methods on a variety of role-related tasks including node classification and clustering (role discovery), top-k similarity search and visualization using some widely used synthetic and real-world datasets...

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