Impact of Community Structure on Cascades


Vijay G. Subramanian


University of Michigan
Department of Electrical Engineering
and Computer Science
1301 Beal Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2122
United States of America


Thursday, 24 November 2016, 14:00 to 15:00



The threshold model is widely used to study the propagation of opinions and technologies in social networks. In this model individuals adopt the new behavior based on how many neighbors have already chosen it. We study cascades under the threshold model on sparse random graphs with community structure to see whether the existence of communities affects the number of individuals who finally adopt the new behavior. Specifically, we consider the permanent adoption model where nodes that have adopted the new behavior cannot change their state. When seeding a small number of agents with the new behavior, the community structure has little effect on the final proportion of people that adopt it, i.e., the contagion threshold is the same as if there were just one community. On the other hand, seeding a fraction of population with the new behavior has a significant impact on the cascade with the optimal seeding strategy depending on how strongly the communities are connected. In particular, when the communities are strongly connected, seeding in one community outperforms the symmetric seeding strategy that seeds equally in all communities.

This talk we will be highlighting the use of the differential equation method, also known as the mean-field method, and the use of dynamical systems theory for the analysis and control of such complex systems (this is joint work with Mehrdad Moharrami and Mingyan Liu at the University of Michigan and Marc Lelarge at ENS and INRIA Paris).