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Mixed membership stochastic blockmodels. (English) Zbl 1225.68143
Summary: Consider data consisting of pairwise measurements, such as presence or absence of links between pairs of objects. These data arise, for instance, in the analysis of protein interactions and gene regulatory networks, collections of author-recipient email, and social networks. Analyzing pairwise measurements with probabilistic models requires special assumptions, since the usual independence or exchangeability assumptions no longer hold. Here we introduce a class of variance allocation models for pairwise measurements: mixed membership stochastic blockmodels. These models combine global parameters that instantiate dense patches of connectivity (blockmodel) with local parameters that instantiate node-specific variability in the connections (mixed membership). We develop a general variational inference algorithm for fast approximate posterior inference. We demonstrate the advantages of mixed membership stochastic blockmodels with applications to social networks and protein interaction networks.

MSC:
68T05 Learning and adaptive systems in artificial intelligence
91D30 Social networks; opinion dynamics
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