Abstract

Matrices associated with graphs, such as the Laplacian, lead to numerous interesting graph problems expressed as linear systems. One field where Laplacian linear systems play a role is network analysis, e. g. for certain centrality measures that indicate if a node (or an edge) is important in the network. One such centrality measure is current-flow closeness.

To allow network analysis workflows to profit from a fast Laplacian solver, we provide an implementation of the LAMG multigrid solver in the NetworKit package, facilitating the computation of current-flow closeness values or related quantities. Our main contribution consists of two algorithms that accelerate the current-flow computation for one node or a reasonably small node subset significantly. One algorithm is an unbiased estimator using sampling, the other one is based on the Johnson-Lindenstrauss transform. Our inexact algorithms lead to very accurate results in practice. Thanks to them one is now able to compute an estimation of current-flow closeness of one node on networks with tens of millions of nodes and edges within seconds or a few minutes. From a network analytical point of view, our experiments indicate that current-flow closeness can discriminate among different nodes significantly better than traditional shortest-path closeness and is also considerably more resistant to noise – we thus show that two known drawbacks of shortest-path closeness are alleviated by the current-flow variant.