Improved Community Detection in Weighted Bipartite Networks

R Soc Open Sci. 2016 Jan 20;3(1):140536. doi: 10.1098/rsos.140536. eCollection 2016 Jan.


Real-world complex networks are composed of non-random quantitative interactions. Identifying communities of nodes that tend to interact more with each other than the network as a whole is a key research focus across multiple disciplines, yet many community detection algorithms only use information about the presence or absence of interactions between nodes. Weighted modularity is a potential method for evaluating the quality of community partitions in quantitative networks. In this framework, the optimal community partition of a network can be found by searching for the partition that maximizes modularity. Attempting to find the partition that maximizes modularity is a computationally hard problem requiring the use of algorithms. QuanBiMo is an algorithm that has been proposed to maximize weighted modularity in bipartite networks. This paper introduces two new algorithms, LPAwb+ and DIRTLPAwb+, for maximizing weighted modularity in bipartite networks. LPAwb+ and DIRTLPAwb+ robustly identify partitions with high modularity scores. DIRTLPAwb+ consistently matched or outperformed QuanBiMo, while the speed of LPAwb+ makes it an attractive choice for detecting the modularity of larger networks. Searching for modules using weighted data (rather than binary data) provides a different and potentially insightful method for evaluating network partitions.

Keywords: bipartite networks; modular structure; modules; network ecology.