Network Similarity Measures and Automatic Construction of Graph Models using Genetic Programming
Harrison, Kyle Robert
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A complex network is an abstract representation of an intricate system of interrelated elements where the patterns of connection hold significant meaning. One particular complex network is a social network whereby the vertices represent people and edges denote their daily interactions. Understanding social network dynamics can be vital to the mitigation of disease spread as these networks model the interactions, and thus avenues of spread, between individuals. To better understand complex networks, algorithms which generate graphs exhibiting observed properties of real-world networks, known as graph models, are often constructed. While various efforts to aid with the construction of graph models have been proposed using statistical and probabilistic methods, genetic programming (GP) has only recently been considered. However, determining that a graph model of a complex network accurately describes the target network(s) is not a trivial task as the graph models are often stochastic in nature and the notion of similarity is dependent upon the expected behavior of the network. This thesis examines a number of well-known network properties to determine which measures best allowed networks generated by different graph models, and thus the models themselves, to be distinguished. A proposed meta-analysis procedure was used to demonstrate how these network measures interact when used together as classifiers to determine network, and thus model, (dis)similarity. The analytical results form the basis of the fitness evaluation for a GP system used to automatically construct graph models for complex networks. The GP-based automatic inference system was used to reproduce existing, well-known graph models as well as a real-world network. Results indicated that the automatically inferred models exemplified functional similarity when compared to their respective target networks. This approach also showed promise when used to infer a model for a mammalian brain network.