Scalable Similarity Estimation in Social Networks: Closeness, Node Labels, and Random Edge Lengths

  • Edith Cohen ,
  • Daniel Delling ,
  • Fabian Fuchs ,
  • Andrew Goldberg ,
  • Moises Goldszmidt ,
  • Renato Werneck

Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Online Social Networks (COSN'13) |

Published by ACM

Similarity estimation between nodes based on structural properties of graphs is a basic building block used in the analysis of massive networks for diverse purposes such as link prediction, product recommendations, advertisement, collaborative filtering, and community discovery. While local similarity measures, based on properties of immediate neighbors, are easy to compute, those relying on global properties have better recall. Unfortunately, this better quality comes with a computational price tag. Aiming for both accuracy and scalability, we make several contributions. First, we define closeness similarity, a natural measure that compares two nodes based on the similarity of their relations to all other nodes. Second, we show how the all-distances sketch (ADS) node labels, which are efficient to compute, can support the estimation of closeness similarity and shortest-path (SP) distances in logarithmic query time. Third, we propose the randomized edge lengths (REL) technique and define the corresponding REL distance, which captures both path length and path multiplicity and therefore improves over the SP distance as a similarity measure. The REL distance can also be the basis of closeness similarity and can be estimated using SP computation or the ADS labels. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our measures and the accuracy of our estimates through experiments on social networks with up to tens of millions of nodes.