Tsinghua Science and Technology


propagation history ranking, causality, social networks, information diffusion


Information diffusion is one of the most important issues in social network analysis. Unlike most existing works, which either rely on network topology or node profiles, this study focuses on the diffusion itself, i.e., the recorded propagation histories. These histories are the evidence of diffusion and can be used to explain to users what happened in their networks. However, these histories can quickly grow in size and complexity, limiting their capacity to be intuitively understood. To reduce this information overload, in this paper we present the problem of propagation history ranking. The goal is to rank participant edges/nodes by their contribution to the diffusion. We first discuss and adapt a causal measure, Difference of Causal Effects (DCE), as the ranking criterion. Then, to avoid the complex calculation of DCE, we propose two integrated ranking strategies by adopting two indicators. One is responsibility, which captures the necessity aspect of causal effects. We further give an approximate algorithm, which could guarantee a feasible solution, for this indicator. The other is capability, which captures the sufficiency aspect of causal effects. Finally, promising experimental results are presented to verify the feasibility of the proposed ranking strategies.


Tsinghua University Press