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Generalized Network Dismantling

Xiao-Long Ren, Niels Gleinig, Dirk Helbing, Nino Antulov-Fantulin

posted on 11 January 2018

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Finding the set of nodes, which removed or (de)activated can stop the spread of (dis)information, contain an epidemic or disrupt the functioning of a corrupt/criminal organization is still one of the key challenges in network science. In this paper, we introduce the generalized network dismantling problem, which aims to find the set of nodes that, when removed from a network, results in a network fragmentation into subcritical network components at minimum cost. For unit costs, our formulation becomes equivalent to the standard network dismantling problem. Our non-unit cost generalization allows for the inclusion of topological cost functions related to node centrality and non-topological features such as the price, protection level or even social value of a node. In order to solve this optimization problem, we propose a method, which is based on the spectral properties of a novel node-weighted Laplacian operator. The proposed method is applicable to large-scale networks with millions of nodes. It outperforms current state-of-the-art methods and opens new directions in understanding the vulnerability and robustness of complex systems.