Detecting the evolving community structure in dynamic social networks

Fanzhen Liu, Jia Wu, Shan Xue, Chuan Zhou*, Jian Yang, Quanzheng Sheng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Identifying the evolving community structure of social networks has recently drawn increasing attention. Evolutionary clustering, previously proposed to detect the evolution of clusters over time, presents a temporal smoothness framework to simultaneously maximize clustering accuracy and minimize the clustering drift between two successive time steps. Under this framework, evolving patterns of communities in dynamic networks were detected by finding the best trade-off between the clustering accuracy and temporal smoothness. However, two main drawbacks in previous methods limit the effectiveness of dynamic community detection. One is that the classic operators implemented by existing methods cannot avoid that a node is often inter-connected to most of its neighbors. The other is that those methods take it for granted that an inter-connection cannot exist between nodes clustered into the same community, which results in a limited search space. In this paper, we propose a novel multi-objective evolutionary clustering algorithm called DECS, to detect the evolving community structure in dynamic social networks. Specifically, we develop a migration operator cooperating with efficient operators to ensure that nodes and their most neighbors are grouped together, and use a genome matrix encoding the structure information of networks to expand the search space. DECS calculates the modularity based on the genome matrix as one of objectives to optimize. Experimental results on synthetic networks and real-world social networks demonstrate that DECS outperforms in both clustering accuracy and smoothness, contrasted with other state-of-the-art methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-733
Number of pages19
JournalWorld Wide Web
Issue number2
Early online date23 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Community structure
  • Dynamic social networks
  • Evolutionary clustering
  • Migration operator


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