Versatility of nodal affiliation to communities

Sci Rep. 2017 Jun 27;7(1):4273. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-03394-5.


Graph theoretical analysis of the community structure of networks attempts to identify the communities (or modules) to which each node affiliates. However, this is in most cases an ill-posed problem, as the affiliation of a node to a single community is often ambiguous. Previous solutions have attempted to identify all of the communities to which each node affiliates. Instead of taking this approach, we introduce versatility, V, as a novel metric of nodal affiliation: V ≈ 0 means that a node is consistently assigned to a specific community; V >> 0 means it is inconsistently assigned to different communities. Versatility works in conjunction with existing community detection algorithms, and it satisfies many theoretically desirable properties in idealised networks designed to maximise ambiguity of modular decomposition. The local minima of global mean versatility identified the resolution parameters of a hierarchical community detection algorithm that least ambiguously decomposed the community structure of a social (karate club) network and the mouse brain connectome. Our results suggest that nodal versatility is useful in quantifying the inherent ambiguity of modular decomposition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Models, Theoretical*