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Octavio Mesner, Elizaveta Levina, Ji Zhu

Information spread through social networks is ubiquitous. Influence maximiza- tion (IM) algorithms aim to identify individuals who will generate the greatest spread through the social network if provided with information, and have been largely devel- oped with marketing in mind. In social networks with community structure, which are very common, IM algorithms focused solely on maximizing spread may yield signifi- cant disparities in information coverage between communities, which is problematic in settings such as public health messaging. While some IM algorithms aim to remedy disparity in information coverage using node attributes, none use the empirical com- munity structure within the network itself, which may be beneficial since communities directly affect the spread of information. Further, the use of empirical network struc- ture allows us to leverage community detection techniques, making it possible to run fair-aware algorithms when there are no relevant node attributes available, or when node attributes do not accurately capture network community structure. In contrast to other fair IM algorithms, this work relies on fitting a model to the social network which is then used to determine a seed allocation strategy for optimal fair information spread. We develop an algorithm to determine optimal seed allocations for expected fair coverage, defined through maximum entropy, provide some theoretical guarantees under appropriate conditions, and demonstrate its empirical accuracy on both simu- lated and real networks. Because this algorithm relies on a fitted network model and not on the network directly, it is well-suited for partially observed and noisy social networks.

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Robert Lunde, Elizaveta Levina, Ji Zhu

An important problem in network analysis is predicting a node attribute using both network covariates, such as graph embedding coordinates or local subgraph counts, and conventional node covariates, such as demographic characteristics. While standard regression methods that make use of both types of covariates may be used for prediction, statistical inference is complicated by the fact that the nodal summary statistics are often dependent in complex ways. We show that under a mild joint exchangeability assumption, a network analog of conformal prediction achieves finite sample validity for a wide range of network covariates. We also show that a form of asymptotic conditional validity is achievable. The methods are illustrated on both simulated networks and a citation network dataset.

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Yunpeng Zhao, Ning Hao, Ji Zhu

Biclustering on bipartite graphs is an unsupervised learning task that simultaneously clusters the two types of objects in the graph, for example, users and movies in a movie review dataset. The latent block model (LBM) has been proposed as a model-based tool for biclustering. Biclustering results by the LBM are, however, usually dominated by the row and column sums of the data matrix, i.e., degrees. We propose a degree-corrected latent block model (DC-LBM) to accommodate degree heterogeneity in row and column clusters, which greatly outperforms the classical LBM in the MovieLens dataset and simulated data. We develop an efficient variational expectation-maximization algorithm by observing that the row and column degrees maximize the objective function in the M step given any probability assignment on the cluster labels. We prove the label consistency of the variational estimator under the DC-LBM, which allows the expected graph density goes to zero as long as the average expected degrees of rows and columns go to infinity.

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Peter W. MacDonald, Elizaveta Levina, Ji Zhu

Latent space models are frequently used for modeling single-layer networks and include many popular special cases, such as the stochastic block model and the random dot product graph. However, they are not well-developed for more complex network structures, which are becoming increasingly common in practice. Here we propose a new latent space model for multiplex networks: multiple, heterogeneous networks observed on a shared node set. Multiplex networks can represent a network sample with shared node labels, a network evolving over time, or a network with multiple types of edges. The key feature of our model is that it learns from data how much of the network structure is shared between layers and pools information across layers as appropriate. We establish identifiability, develop a fitting procedure using convex optimization in combination with a nuclear norm penalty, and prove a guarantee of recovery for the latent positions as long as there is sufficient separation between the shared and the individual latent subspaces. We compare the model to competing methods in the literature on simulated networks and on a multiplex network describing the worldwide trade of agricultural products.

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Jiangzhou Wang, Jingfei Zhang, Binghui Liu, Ji Zhu, Jianhua Guo

The stochastic block model is one of the most studied network models for community detection. It is well-known that most algorithms proposed for fitting the stochastic block model likelihood function cannot scale to large-scale networks. One prominent work that overcomes this computational challenge is Amini et al.(2013), which proposed a fast pseudo-likelihood approach for fitting stochastic block models to large sparse networks. However, this approach does not have convergence guarantee, and is not well suited for small- or medium- scale networks. In this article, we propose a novel likelihood based approach that decouples row and column labels in the likelihood function, which enables a fast alternating maximization; the new method is computationally efficient, performs well for both small and large scale networks, and has provable convergence guarantee. We show that our method provides strongly consistent estimates of the communities in a stochastic block model. As demonstrated in simulation studies, the proposed method outperforms the pseudo-likelihood approach in terms of both estimation accuracy and computation efficiency, especially for large sparse networks. We further consider extensions of our proposed method to handle networks with degree heterogeneity and bipartite properties.

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Weijing Tang, Jiaqi Ma, Qiaozhu Mei, Ji Zhu

In this paper, we propose a flexible model for survival analysis using neural networks along with scalable optimization algorithms. One key technical challenge for directly applying maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) to censored data is that evaluating the objective function and its gradients with respect to model parameters requires the calculation of integrals. To address this challenge, we recognize that the MLE for censored data can be viewed as a differential-equation constrained optimization problem, a novel perspective. Following this connection, we model the distribution of event time through an ordinary differential equation and utilize efficient ODE solvers and adjoint sensitivity analysis to numerically evaluate the likelihood and the gradients. Using this approach, we are able to 1) provide a broad family of continuous-time survival distributions without strong structural assumptions, 2) obtain powerful feature representations using neural networks, and 3) allow efficient estimation of the model in large-scale applications using stochastic gradient descent. Through both simulation studies and real-world data examples, we demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method in comparison to existing state-of-the-art deep learning survival analysis models.

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Tianxi Li, Elizaveta Levina, Ji Zhu

Communities are a common and widely studied structure in networks, typically under the assumption that the network is fully and correctly observed. In practice, network data are often collected through sampling schemes such as surveys. These sampling mechanisms introduce noise and bias which can obscure the community structure and invalidate assumptions underlying standard community detection methods. We propose a general model for a class of network sampling mechanisms based on survey designs, designed to enable more accurate community detection for network data collected in this fashion. We model edge sampling probabilities as a function of both individual preferences and community parameters, and show community detection can be done by spectral clustering under this general class of models. We also propose, as a special case of the general framework, a parametric model for directed networks we call the nomination stochastic block model, which allows for meaningful parameter interpretations and can be fitted by the method of moments. Both spectral clustering and the method of moments in this case are computationally efficient and come with theoretical guarantees of consistency. We evaluate the proposed model in simulation studies on both unweighted and weighted networks and apply it to a faculty hiring dataset, discovering a meaningful hierarchy of communities among US business schools.

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Tianxi Li, Cheng Qian, Elizaveta Levina, Ji Zhu

Graphical models are commonly used to represent conditional dependence relationships between variables. There are multiple methods available for exploring them from high-dimensional data, but almost all of them rely on the assumption that the observations are independent and identically distributed. At the same time, observations connected by a network are becoming increasingly common, and tend to violate these assumptions. Here we develop a Gaussian graphical model for observations connected by a network with potentially different mean vectors, varying smoothly over the network. We propose an efficient estimation algorithm and demonstrate its effectiveness on both simulated and real data, obtaining meaningful interpretable results on a statistics coauthorship network. We also prove that our method estimates both the inverse covariance matrix and the corresponding graph structure correctly under the assumption of network "cohesion", which refers to the empirically observed phenomenon of network neighbors sharing similar traits.

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Jiaqi Ma, Weijing Tang, Ji Zhu, Qiaozhu Mei

We consider a family of problems that are concerned about making predictions for the majority of unlabeled, graph-structured data samples based on a small proportion of labeled examples. Relational information among the data samples, often encoded in the graph or network structure, is shown to be helpful for these semi-supervised learning tasks. Conventional graph-based regularization methods and recent graph neural networks do not fully leverage the interrelations between the features, the graph, and the labels. We propose a flexible generative framework for graph-based semi-supervised learning, which approaches the joint distribution of the node features, labels, and the graph structure. Borrowing insights from random graph models in network science literature, this joint distribution can be instantiated using various distribution families. For the inference of missing labels, we exploit recent advances of scalable variational inference techniques to approximate the Bayesian posterior. We conduct thorough experiments on benchmark datasets for graph-based semi-supervised learning. Results show that the proposed methods outperform state-of-the-art models under most settings.

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