Reconnecting the estranged relationships: optimizing the influence propagation in evolving networks

Taotao Cai*, Qi Lei, Quan Z. Sheng, Ningning Cui, Shuiqiao Yang, Jian Yang, Wei Emma Zhang, Adnan Mahmood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Influence Maximization (IM), which aims to select a set of users from a social network to maximize the expected number of influenced users, has recently received significant attention for mass communication and commercial marketing. Existing research efforts dedicated to the IM problem depend on a strong assumption: the selected seed users are willing to spread the information after receiving benefits from a company or organization. In reality, however, some seed users may be reluctant to spread the information or need to be paid higher to be motivated. Furthermore, the existing IM works pay little attention to capture users' influence propagation in the future period. In this paper, we target a new research problem named, Reconnecting Top-l Relationships (RT l R) query, which aims to find l number of previous existing relationships but being estranged later such that reconnecting these relationships will maximize the expected number of influenced users by the given group in a future period. We prove that the RT l R problem is NP-hard. An efficient greedy algorithm is proposed to answer the RT l R queries with the influence estimation technique and the well-chosen link prediction method to predict the near future network structure. We also design a pruning method to reduce unnecessary probing from candidate edges. Further, a carefully designed order-based algorithm is proposed to accelerate the RT l R queries. Finally, we conduct extensive experiments on real-world datasets to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of our proposed methods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2151-2165
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering
Issue number5
Early online date18 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


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