Predictive Sampling Method for Spread Models in Networks




spread model, network sampling, exploration-based sampling, caterpillar tree, lobster graph, caterpillar quota walk sampling


This paper proposes a novel, exploration-based network sampling algorithm called caterpillar quota walk sampling (CQWS) inspired by the caterpillar tree. Network sampling identifies a subset of nodes and edges from a network, creating an induced graph. Beginning from an initial node, exploration-based sampling algorithms grow the induced set by traversing and tracking unvisited neighboring nodes from the original network. Tunable and trainable parameters allow CQWS to maximize the sum of the degrees of the induced graph from multiple trials when sampling dense networks. A network spread model renders effective use in various applications, including tracking the spread of epidemics, visualizing information transmissions through social media, and cell-to-cell spread of neurodegenerative diseases. CQWS generates a spread model as its sample by visiting the highest-degree neighbors of previously visited nodes. For each previously visited node, a top proportion of the highest-degree neighbors fulfills a quota and branches into a new caterpillar tree. Sampling more high-degree nodes constitutes an objective among various applications. Many exploration-based sampling algorithms suffer drawbacks that limit the sum of degrees of visited nodes and thus the number of high-degree nodes visited. Furthermore, a strategy may not be adaptable to volatile degree frequencies throughout the original network architecture, which influences how deep into the original network an algorithm could sample. This paper analyzes CQWS in comparison to four other exploration-based network in tackling these two problems by sampling sparse and dense randomly generated networks.