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A novel approach for fast and effective influence spread maximization in social networks
  • Paolo Scarabaggio ,
  • Raffaele Carli ,
  • Mariagrazia Dotoli
Paolo Scarabaggio
Politecnico di Bari, Politecnico di Bari

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Raffaele Carli
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Mariagrazia Dotoli
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The main characteristic of social networks is their ability to quickly spread information between a large group of people. This phenomenon is generated by the social influence that individuals induce on each other.
The widespread use of online social networks (e.g., Facebook) increases researchers’ interest in how influence propagates through these networks. One of the most important research issues in this field is the so-called influence maximization problem, which essentially consists in selecting the most influential users (i.e., those who are able to maximize the spread of influence through the social network).
Due to its practical importance in various applications (e.g., viral marketing, target advertisement, personalized recommendation), such a problem has been studied in several variants. Different solution methodologies have been proposed. Nevertheless, the current open challenge in the resolution of the influence maximization problem still concerns achieving a good trade-off between accuracy and computational time.
In this context, based on the well-known independent cascade and the linear threshold models of social networks, we propose a novel low-complexity and highly accurate algorithm for selecting an initial group of nodes to maximize the spread of influence in large-scale networks. In particular, the key idea consists in iteratively removing the overlap of influence spread induced by different seed nodes. Application to several numerical experiments based on real datasets proves that the proposed algorithm effectively finds practical near-optimal solutions of the addressed influence maximization problem in a computationally efficient fashion. Finally, comparison with the best performing state of the art algorithms demonstrates that in large scale scenarios, the proposed approach shows higher performance in terms of influence spread and running time.