Journal of Intelligent Information Systems

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 307–332 | Cite as

Finding the most descriptive substructures in graphs with discrete and numeric labels

  • Michael Davis
  • Weiru Liu
  • Paul Miller


Many graph datasets are labelled with discrete and numeric attributes. Most frequent substructure discovery algorithms ignore numeric attributes; in this paper we show how they can be used to improve search performance and discrimination. Our thesis is that the most descriptive substructures are those which are normative both in terms of their structure and in terms of their numeric values. We explore the relationship between graph structure and the distribution of attribute values and propose an outlier-detection step, which is used as a constraint during substructure discovery. By pruning anomalous vertices and edges, more weight is given to the most descriptive substructures. Our method is applicable to multi-dimensional numeric attributes; we outline how it can be extended for high-dimensional data. We support our findings with experiments on transaction graphs and single large graphs from the domains of physical building security and digital forensics, measuring the effect on runtime, memory requirements and coverage of discovered patterns, relative to the unconstrained approach.


Graph mining Frequent substructure discovery Constraint-based mining Labelled graphs Numeric attributes Outlier detection 



We would like to thank Erich Schubert at Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München for assistance with verifying our LOF implementation and providing us with the RP + PINN + LOF implementation ahead of its official release in ELKI.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), School of Electronics, Electrica Engineering and Computer ScienceQueen’s University BelfastBelfastUK
  2. 2.Knowledge and Data Engineering Cluster, School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceQueen’s University BelfastBelfastUK

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