Nesreen Ahmed, Nick Duffield
Networks are a natural representation of complex systems across the sciences, and higher-order dependencies are central to the understanding and modeling of these systems. However, in many practical applications such as online social networks, networks are massive, dynamic, and naturally streaming, where pairwise interactions among vertices become available one at a time in some arbitrary order. The massive size and streaming nature of these networks allow only partial observation, since it is infeasible to analyze the entire network. Under such scenarios, it is challenging to study the higher-order structural and connectivity patterns of streaming networks. In this work, we consider the fundamental problem of estimating the higher-order dependencies using adaptive sampling. We propose a novel adaptive, single-pass sampling framework and unbiased estimators for higher-order network analysis of large streaming networks. Our algorithms exploit adaptive techniques to identify edges that are highly informative for efficiently estimating the higher-order structure of streaming networks from small sample data. We also introduce a novel James-Stein shrinkage estimator to reduce the estimation error. Our approach is fully analytic, computationally efficient, and can be incrementally updated in a streaming setting. Numerical experiments on large networks show that our approach is superior to baseline methods.