Replacing the irreplaceable: Fast algorithms for team member recommendation

Liangyue Li, Hanghang Tong, Nan Cao, Kate Ehrlich, Yu Ru Lin, Norbou Buchler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

41 Scopus citations


In this paper, we study the problem of Team Member Replacement - given a team of people embedded in a social network working on the same task, find a good candidate to best replace a team member who becomes unavailable to perform the task for certain reason (e.g., conflicts of interests or resource capacity). Prior studies in teamwork have suggested that a good team member replacement should bring synergy to the team in terms of having both skill matching and structure matching. However, existing techniques either do not cover both aspects or consider the two aspects independently. In this work, we propose a novel problem formulation using the concept of graph kernels that takes into account the interaction of both skill and structure matching requirements. To tackle the computational challenges, we propose a family of fast algorithms by (a) designing effective pruning strategies, and (b) exploring the smoothness between the existing and the new team structures. We conduct extensive experimental evaluations and user studies on real world datasets to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency. Our algorithms (a) perform significantly better than the alternative choices in terms of both precision and recall and (b) scale sub-linearly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWWW 2015 - Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on World Wide Web
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781450334693
StatePublished - May 18 2015
Event24th International Conference on World Wide Web, WWW 2015 - Florence, Italy
Duration: May 18 2015May 22 2015

Publication series

NameWWW 2015 - Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on World Wide Web


Other24th International Conference on World Wide Web, WWW 2015


  • Graph kernel
  • Scalability
  • Team member replacement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software

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