Structural and algorithmic aspects of massive social networks

TitleStructural and algorithmic aspects of massive social networks
Publication TypeConference Papers
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsEubank S, Kumar AVS, Marathe MV, Srinivasan A, Wang N
Conference NameProceedings of the fifteenth annual ACM-SIAM symposium on Discrete algorithms
Date Published2004///
PublisherSociety for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Conference LocationPhiladelphia, PA, USA
ISBN Number0-89871-558-X

We study the algorithmic and structural properties of very large, realistic social contact networks. We consider the social network for the city of Portland, Oregon, USA, developed as a part of the TRANSIMS/EpiSims project at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The most expressive social contact network is a bipartite graph, with two types of nodes: people and locations; edges represent people visiting locations on a typical day. Three types of results are presented. (i) Our empirical results show that many basic characteristics of the dataset are well-modeled by a random graph approach suggested by Fan Chung Graham and Lincoln Lu (the CL-model), with a power-law degree distribution. (ii) We obtain fast approximation algorithms for computing basic structural properties such as clustering coefficients and shortest paths distribution. We also study the dominating set problem for such networks; this problem arose in connection with optimal sensor-placement for disease-detection. We present a fast approximation algorithm for computing near-optimal dominating sets. (iii) Given the close approximations provided by the CL-model to our original dataset and the large data-volume, we investigate fast methods for generating such random graphs. We present methods that can generate such a random network in near-linear time, and show that these variants asymptotically share many key features of the CL-model, and also match the Portland social network.The structural results have been used to study the impact of policy decisions for controlling large-scale epidemics in urban environments.