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Hierarchical stochastic block model for community detection in multiplex networks






March 17th - Room 1 (morning)

Date and time:

13:00 to 14:00 on 03/17/2022


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Multiplex networks have become increasingly more prevalent in many fields, and have emerged as a powerful tool for modeling the complexity of real networks. There is a critical need for developing inference models for multiplex networks that can take into account potential dependencies across different layers, particularly when the aim is community detection. We add to a limited literature by proposing a novel and efficient Bayesian model for community detection in multiplex networks. A key feature of our approach is the ability to model varying communities at different network layers. In contrast, many existing models assume the same communities for all layers. Moreover, our model automatically picks up the necessary number of communities at each layer (as validated by real data examples). This is appealing, since deciding the number of communities is a challenging aspect of community detection, and especially so in the multiplex setting, if one allows the communities to change across layers. Borrowing ideas from hierarchical Bayesian modeling, we use a hierarchical Dirichlet prior to model community labels across layers, allowing dependency in their structure. Given the community labels, a stochastic block model (SBM) is assumed for each layer. We develop an efficient slice sampler for sampling the posterior distribution of the community labels as well as the link probabilities between communities. In doing so, we address some unique challenges posed by coupling the complex likelihood of SBM with the hierarchical nature of the prior on the labels. An extensive empirical validation is performed on simulated and real data, demonstrating the superior performance of the model over single-layer alternatives, as well as the ability to uncover interesting structures in real networks.


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