Community detection via heterogeneous interaction analysis

Lei Tang, Xufei Wang, Huan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Scopus citations


The pervasiveness of Web 2.0 and social networking sites has enabled people to interact with each other easily through various social media. For instance, popular sites like, Flickr, and YouTube allow users to comment on shared content (bookmarks, photos, videos), and users can tag their favorite content. Users can also connect with one another, and subscribe to or become a fan or a follower of others. These diverse activities result in a multi-dimensional network among actors, forming group structures with group members sharing similar interests or affiliations. This work systematically addresses two challenges. First, it is challenging to effectively integrate interactions over multiple dimensions to discover hidden community structures shared by heterogeneous interactions. We show that representative community detection methods for single-dimensional networks can be presented in a unified view. Based on this unified view, we present and analyze four possible integration strategies to extend community detection from single-dimensional to multi-dimensional networks. In particular, we propose a novel integration scheme based on structural features. Another challenge is the evaluation of different methods without ground truth information about community membership. We employ a novel cross-dimension network validation (CDNV) procedure to compare the performance of different methods. We use synthetic data to deepen our understanding, and real-world data to compare integration strategies as well as baseline methods in a large scale. We study further the computational time of different methods, normalization effect during integration, sensitivity to related parameters, and alternative community detection methods for integration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-33
Number of pages33
JournalData Mining and Knowledge Discovery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • Community detection
  • Heterogeneous interactions
  • Multi-dimensional networks
  • Network integration
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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