Finding community structure in very large networks
The discovery and analysis of community structure in networks is a topic of considerable recent interest within the physics community, but most methods proposed so far are unsuitable for very large networks because of their computational cost. Here we present a hierarchical agglomeration algorithm for detecting community structure which is faster than many competing algorithms: its running time on a network with n vertices and m edges is O(md log n) where d is the depth of the dendrogram describing the community structure. Many real-world networks are sparse and hierarchical, with m∼n and d∼log n, in which case our algorithm runs in essentially linear time, O(n log2 n). As an example of the application of this algorithm we use it to analyze a network of items for sale on the web site of a large on-line retailer, items in the network being linked if they are frequently purchased by the same buyer. The network has more than 400 000 vertices and 2×106 edges. We show that our algorithm can extract meaningful communities from this network, revealing large-scale patterns present in the purchasing habits of customers.