Link prediction for long-circle-like networks

Ke Ke Shang, Michael Small

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Link prediction is the problem of predicting the uncertain relationship between a pair of nodes from observed structural information of a network. Link prediction algorithms are useful in gaining insight into different network structures from partial observation of exemplars. Existing local and quasilocal link prediction algorithms with low computational complexity focus on regular complex networks with sufficiently many closed triangular motifs or on tree-like networks with the vast majority of open triangular motifs. However, the three-node motif cannot describe the local structural features of all networks, and we find the main structure of many networks is long line or closed circle that cannot be predicted well via traditional link prediction algorithms. Meanwhile, some global link prediction algorithms are effective but accompanied by high computational complexity. In this paper, we proposed a local method that is based on the natural characteristic of a long line - in contrast to the preferential attachment principle. Next, we test our algorithms for two kinds of symbolic long-circle-like networks: a metropolitan water distribution network and a sexual contact network. We find that our method is effective and performs much better than many traditional local and global algorithms. We adopt the community detection method to improve the accuracy of our algorithm, which shows that the long-circle-like networks also have clear community structure. We further suggest that the structural features are key for the link prediction problem. Finally, we propose a long-line network model to prove that our core idea is of universal significance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number024311
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


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