Quantifying and identifying the overlapping community structure in networks
It has been shown that the communities of complex networks often overlap with each other. However, there is no effective method to quantify the overlapping community structure. In this paper, we propose a metric to address this problem. Instead of assuming that one node can only belong to one community, our metric assumes that a maximal clique only belongs to one community. In this way, the overlaps between communities are allowed. To identify the overlapping community structure, we construct a maximal clique network from the original network, and prove that the optimization of our metric on the original network is equivalent to the optimization of Newman's modularity on the maximal clique network. Thus the overlapping community structure can be identified through partitioning the maximal clique network using any modularity optimization method. The effectiveness of our metric is demonstrated by extensive tests on both artificial networks and real world networks with a known community structure. The application to the word association network also reproduces excellent results.