Graph models have long been used in social network analysis and other social and natural sciences to render the analysis of complex systems easier. In applied studies, to understand the behaviour of social networks and the interactions that command that behaviour, it is often necessary to identify sets of elements which form cohesive groups, i.e., groups of actors that are strongly interrelated. The clique concept is a suitable representation for groups of actors that are all directly related pair-wise. However, many social relationships are established not only face-to-face but also through intermediaries, and the clique concept misses all the latter. To deal with these cases, it is necessary to adopt approaches that relax the clique concept. In this paper we introduce a new clique relaxation—the triangle k-club—and its associated maximization problem—the maximum triangle k-club problem. We propose integer programming formulations for the problem, stated in different variable spaces, and derive valid inequalities to strengthen their linear programming relaxations. Computational results on randomly generated and real-world graphs, with \(k=2\) and \(k=3\), are reported.
Clique relaxations Integer formulations Valid inequalities Cliques Social network analysis
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This work is supported by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, under the Project: UID/MAT/04561/2013. We thank the three anonymous referees for their valuable comments and suggestions which helped to improve the paper and opened interesting paths for future work. We also thank Ann Henshall, who was always ready to elucidate our English grammar and vocabulary doubts.