Efficient Computation of the Shapley Value for Centrality in Networks

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Abstract

The Shapley Value is arguably the most important normative solution concept in coalitional games. One of its applications is in the domain of networks, where the Shapley Value is used to measure the relative importance of individual nodes. This measure, which is called node centrality, is of paramount significance in many real-world application domains including social and organisational networks, biological networks, communication networks and the internet. Whereas computational aspects of the Shapley Value have been analyzed in the context of conventional coalitional games, this paper presents the first such study of the Shapley Value for network centrality. Our results demonstrate that this particular application of the Shapley Value presents unique opportunities for efficiency gains, which we exploit to develop exact analytical formulas for Shapley Value based centrality computation in both weighted and unweighted networks. These formulas not only yield efficient (polynomial time) and error-free algorithms for computing node centralities, but their surprisingly simple closed form expressions also offer intuition into why certain nodes are relatively more important to a network.