Statistical Mechanics Invited Talk

Lenka Zdeborova (CNRS and CEA Saclay, France)    

Module detection in networks: phase transitions and optimal algorithms

A central problem in analyzing networks is partitioning them into modules or communities, clusters with a statistically homogeneous pattern of links to each other or to the rest of the network. A principled approach to address this problem is to fit the network on a stochastic block model, this task is, however, intractable exactly. In this talk we discuss application of belief propagation algorithm to module detection. In the first part we present an asymptotically exact analysis of the stochastic block model. We quantify properties of the detectability/undetectability phase transition and the easy/hard phase transition for the module detection problem. In the second part we introduce a new class of spectral algorithms based on a non-backtracking walk on the directed edges of the graph. We show that our algorithm is optimal for graphs generated by the stochastic block model, detecting communities all the way down to the theoretical limit. We also show the spectrum of the non-backtracking operator for some real-world networks, illustrating its advantages over traditional spectral clustering.


Phase transition in the detection of modules in sparse networks;
Aurelien Decelle, Florent Krzakala, Cristopher Moore, Lenka Zdeborová; Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 065701 (2011).

Spectral redemption: clustering sparse networks;
Florent Krzakala, Cristopher Moore, Elchanan Mossel, Joe Neeman, Allan Sly, Lenka Zdeborová, Pan Zhang; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110, no. 52 (2013): 20935-20940