Comparing Networks

Source: Oxford Protein Informatics Group, Mar 2016

Many complex systems can be represented as networks, including friendships (e.g. Facebook), the World Wide Web trade relations and biological interactions. For a friendship network, for example, individuals are represented as nodes and an edge between two nodes represents a friendship.

The study of networks has thus been a very active area of research in recent years, and, in particular, network comparison has become increasingly relevant. Network comparison, itself, has many wide-ranging applications, for example, comparing protein-protein interaction networks could lead to increased understanding of underlying biological processes. Network comparison can also be used to study the evolution of networks over time and for identifying sudden changes and shocks.

we describe a recently introduced network comparison methodology. At the heart of this methodology is a topology-based similarity measure between networks, Netdis [1]. The Netdis statistic assigns a value between 0 and 1 (close to 1 for very good matches between networks and close to 0 for similar networks) and, consequently, allows many networks to be compared simultaneously via their Netdis values.

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