A Hierarchical Block Distance Model for Ultra Low-Dimensional Graph Representations

Nikolaos Nakis, Abdulkadir Çelikkanat, Sune Lehmann, Morten Mørup

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Graph Representation Learning (GRL) has become central for characterizing structures of complex networks and performing tasks such as link prediction, node classification, network reconstruction, and community detection. Whereas numerous generative GRL models have been proposed, many approaches have prohibitive computational requirements hampering large-scale network analysis, fewer are able to explicitly account for structure emerging at multiple scales, and only a few explicitly respect important network properties such as homophily and transitivity. This paper proposes a novel scalable graph representation learning method named the Hierarchical Block Distance Model (HBDM). The HBDM imposes a multiscale block structure akin to stochastic block modeling (SBM) and accounts for homophily and transitivity by accurately approximating the latent distance model (LDM) throughout the inferred hierarchy. The HBDM naturally accommodates unipartite, directed, and bipartite networks whereas the hierarchy is designed to ensure linearithmic time and space complexity enabling the analysis of very large-scale networks. We evaluate the performance of the HBDM on massive networks consisting of millions of nodes. Importantly, we find that the proposed HBDM framework significantly outperforms recent scalable approaches in all considered downstream tasks. Surprisingly, we observe superior performance even imposing ultra-low two-dimensional embeddings facilitating accurate direct and hierarchical-aware network visualization and interpretation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering
Number of pages14
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Latent Space Modeling
  • Complex Networks
  • Graph Representation Learning


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