Distance metric learning for complex networks: towards size-independent comparison of network structures

Chaos. 2015 Feb;25(2):023111. doi: 10.1063/1.4908605.


Real networks show nontrivial topological properties such as community structure and long-tail degree distribution. Moreover, many network analysis applications are based on topological comparison of complex networks. Classification and clustering of networks, model selection, and anomaly detection are just some applications of network comparison. In these applications, an effective similarity metric is needed which, given two complex networks of possibly different sizes, evaluates the amount of similarity between the structural features of the two networks. Traditional graph comparison approaches, such as isomorphism-based methods, are not only too time consuming but also inappropriate to compare networks with different sizes. In this paper, we propose an intelligent method based on the genetic algorithms for integrating, selecting, and weighting the network features in order to develop an effective similarity measure for complex networks. The proposed similarity metric outperforms state of the art methods with respect to different evaluation criteria.