Discriminative Topological Features Reveal Biological Network Mechanisms

Discriminative Topological Features Reveal Biological Network Mechanisms
Manuel Middendorf, Etay Ziv, Carter Adams, Jen Hom, Robin Koytcheff, Chaya Levovitz, Gregory Woods, Linda Chen, Chris Wiggins


Abstract

Recent genomic and bioinformatic advances have motivated the development of numerous random network models purporting to describe graphs of biological, technological, and sociological origin. The success of a model has been evaluated by how well it reproduces a few key features of the real-world data, such as degree distributions, mean geodesic lengths, and clustering coefficients. Often pairs of models can reproduce these features with indistinguishable fidelity despite being generated by vastly different mechanisms. In such cases, these few target features are insufficient to distinguish which of the different models best describes real world networks of interest; moreover, it is not clear a priori that any of the presently-existing algorithms for network generation offers a predictive description of the networks inspiring them. To derive discriminative classifiers, we construct a mapping from the set of all graphs to a high-dimensional (in principle infinite-dimensional) ``word space''. This map defines an input space for classification schemes which allow us for the first time to state unambiguously which models are most descriptive of the networks they purport to describe. Our training sets include networks generated from 17 models either drawn from the literature or introduced in this work. We anticipate that this new approach to network analysis will be of broad impact to a number of communities.


Supplementary information