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K-Core Minimization: A Game Theoretic Approach

by   Sourav Medya, et al.
The Regents of the University of California

K-cores are maximal induced subgraphs where all vertices have degree at least k. These dense patterns have applications in community detection, network visualization and protein function prediction. However, k-cores can be quite unstable to network modifications, which motivates the question: How resilient is the k-core structure of a network, such as the Web or Facebook, to edge deletions? We investigate this question from an algorithmic perspective. More specifically, we study the problem of computing a small set of edges for which the removal minimizes the k-core structure of a network. This paper provides a comprehensive characterization of the hardness of the k-core minimization problem (KCM), including innaproximability and fixed-parameter intractability. Motivated by such a challenge in terms of algorithm design, we propose a novel algorithm inspired by Shapley value---a cooperative game-theoretic concept--- that is able to leverage the strong interdependencies in the effects of edge removals in the search space. As computing Shapley values is also NP-hard, we efficiently approximate them using a randomized algorithm with probabilistic guarantees. Our experiments, using several real datasets, show that the proposed algorithm outperforms competing solutions in terms of k-core minimization while being able to handle large graphs. Moreover, we illustrate how KCM can be applied in the analysis of the k-core resilience of networks.


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