A fixed degree sequence model for the one-mode projection of multiplex bipartite graphs


A bipartite structure is a common property of many real-world network data sets such as agents which are affiliated with societies, customers who buy, rent, or rate products, and authors who write scientific papers. The one-mode projection of these networks onto either set of entities (e.g., societies, products, and articles) is a well-established approach for the analysis of such data and deduces relations between these entities. Some bipartite data sets of key importance contain several distinct types of relations between their entities. These networks require a projection method which accounts for multiple edge types. In this article, we present the multiplex extension of an existing projection algorithm for simplex bipartite networks, i.e., networks that contain a single type of relation. We use synthetic data to show the robustness of our method before applying it to a real-world network of user ratings for films, namely, the Netflix data set. Based on the assumption that co-ratings of films contain information about the films’ similarity, we analyse the multiplex projection as an approximation of the similarity landscape of the films. Besides comparing the projection to the coarse-grained classification of films into genres, we validate the resulting similarities based on ground truth data sets containing film series. Our analysis confirms the predictive power of the network of positive co-ratings. We furthermore explore the potential of additional, mixed co-rating patterns in improving the prediction of similarities and highlight necessary criteria for this approach.

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  1. 1.

    Note that in the used Netflix data set the same user rates a certain film only once by either liking or disliking it. Thus, the maximal multiplicity of the resulting bipartite graph is 1.

  2. 2.

    We also ran experiments on synthetic data where the degree sequence on one of the node sets of the bipartite graph was more homogenous. This work in progress shows that the presented multiplex one-mode projection is robust when using a different network model as well.

  3. 3.

    The term ground truth is a standard term in machine learning which defines the set of observations that is to be re-discovered by a good algorithm. Any algorithm can then be evaluated by the number of true positive predictions, i.e., those that are in the ground truth, the number of false positives, i.e., those not in the ground truth set but predicted by the algorithm, the number of true negatives (not predicted, not present in ground truth), and the number of false negatives (not predicted, but present in ground truth).

  4. 4.

    The Area Under (the receiver operating, ROC) Curve is a standard machine learning measure, which quantifies the probability that true positives are assigned lower scores than true negatives by a given algorithm (Fawcett 2006). Thus, a perfect one-mode projection algorithm regarding ground truth has an AUC of 1 while random guessing results in an AUC of 0.5.


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The authors would like to thank Andreas Spitz for useful discussions, ground truth data, and software. The authors are also grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. EÁH is supported by the Heidelberg Graduate School of Mathematical and Computational Methods for the Sciences, University of Heidelberg, Germany, which is funded by the German Excellence Initiative (GSC 220).

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Horvát, E., Zweig, K.A. A fixed degree sequence model for the one-mode projection of multiplex bipartite graphs. Soc. Netw. Anal. Min. 3, 1209–1224 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13278-013-0133-9

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  • Bipartite graphs
  • One-mode projection
  • Multiplex networks