Fast Maximal Quasi-clique Enumeration: A Pruning and Branching Co-Design Approach

Kaiqiang Yu, Cheng Long

Mining cohesive subgraphs from a graph is a fundamental problem in graph data analysis. One notable cohesive structure is $\gamma$-quasi-clique (QC), where each vertex connects at least a fraction $\gamma$ of the other vertices inside. Enumerating maximal $\gamma$-quasi-cliques (MQCs) of a graph has been widely studied. One common practice of finding all MQCs is to (1) find a set of QCs containing all MQCs and then (2) filter out non-maximal QCs. While quite a few algorithms have been developed (which are branch-and-bound algorithms) for finding a set of QCs that contains all MQCs, all focus on sharpening the pruning techniques and devote little effort to improving the branching part. As a result, they provide no guarantee on pruning branches and all have the worst-case time complexity of $O^*(2^n)$, where $O^*$ suppresses the polynomials and $n$ is the number of vertices in the graph. In this paper, we focus on the problem of finding a set of QCs containing all MQCs but deviate from further sharpening the pruning techniques as existing methods do. We pay attention to both the pruning and branching parts and develop new pruning techniques and branching methods that would suit each other better towards pruning more branches both theoretically and practically. Specifically, we develop a new branch-and-bound algorithm called FastQC based on newly developed pruning techniques and branching methods, which improves the worst-case time complexity to $O^*(\alpha_k^n)$, where $\alpha_k$ is a positive real number strictly smaller than 2. Furthermore, we develop a divide-and-conquer strategy for boosting the performance of FastQC. Finally, we conduct extensive experiments on both real and synthetic datasets, and the results show that our algorithms are up to two orders of magnitude faster than the state-of-the-art on real datasets.

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