Bayesian stochastic blockmodels for community detection in networks and community-structured covariance selection
Networks have been widely used to describe interactions among objects in diverse fields. Given the interest in explaining a network by its structure, much attention has been drawn to finding clusters of nodes with dense connections within clusters but sparse connections between clusters. Such clusters are called communities, and identifying such clusters is known as community detection. Here, to perform community detection, I focus on stochastic blockmodels (SBM), a class of statistically-based generative models. I present a flexible SBM that represents different types of data as well as node attributes under a Bayesian framework. The proposed models explicitly capture community behavior by guaranteeing that connections are denser within communities than between communities. First, I present a degree-corrected SBM based on a logistic regression formulation to model binary networks. To fit the model, I obtain posterior samples via Gibbs sampling based on Polya-Gamma latent variables. I conduct inference based on a novel, canonically mapped centroid estimator that formally addresses label non-identifiability and captures representative community assignments. Next, to accommodate large-scale datasets, I further extend the degree-corrected SBM to a broader family of generalized linear models with group correction terms. To conduct exact inference efficiently, I develop an iteratively-reweighted least squares procedure that implicitly updates sufficient statistics on the network to obtain maximum a posteriori (MAP) estimators. I demonstrate the proposed model and estimation on simulated benchmark networks and various real-world datasets. Finally, I develop a Bayesian SBM for community-structured covariance selection. Here, I assume that the data at each node are Gaussian and a latent network where two nodes are not connected if their observations are conditionally independent given observations of other nodes. Under the context of biological and social applications, I expect that this latent network shows a block dependency structure that represents community behavior. Thus, to identify the latent network and detect communities, I propose a hierarchical prior in two levels: a spike-and-slab prior on off-diagonal entries of the concentration matrix for variable selection and a degree-corrected SBM to capture community behavior. I develop an efficient routine based on ridge regularization and MAP estimation to conduct inference.