Distance Closures on Complex Networks

Tiago Simas, Luis M Rocha

To expand the toolbox available to network science, we study the isomorphism between distance and Fuzzy (proximity or strength) graphs. Distinct transitive closures in Fuzzy graphs lead to closures of their isomorphic distance graphs with widely different structural properties. For instance, the All Pairs Shortest Paths (APSP) problem, based on the Dijkstra algorithm, is equivalent to a metric closure, which is only one of the possible ways to calculate shortest paths. Understanding and mapping this isomorphism is necessary to analyse models of complex networks based on weighted graphs. Any conclusions derived from such models should take into account the distortions imposed on graph topology when converting proximity/strength into distance graphs, to subsequently compute path length and shortest path measures. We characterise the isomorphism using the max-min and Dombi disjunction/conjunction pairs. This allows us to: (1) study alternative distance closures, such as those based on diffusion, metric, and ultra-metric distances; (2) identify the operators closest to the metric closure of distance graphs (the APSP), but which are logically consistent; and (3) propose a simple method to compute alternative distance closures using existing algorithms for the APSP. In particular, we show that a specific diffusion distance is promising for community detection in complex networks, and is based on desirable axioms for logical inference or approximate reasoning on networks; it also provides a simple algebraic means to compute diffusion processes on networks. Based on these results, we argue that choosing different distance closures can lead to different conclusions about indirect associations on network data, as well as the structure of complex networks, and are thus important to consider.

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