Consistency of random-walk based network embedding algorithms

Zhang, Yichi, Tang, Minh Machine Learning 

Random-walk based network embedding algorithms like node2vec and DeepWalk are widely used to obtain Euclidean representation of the nodes in a network prior to performing down-stream network inference tasks. Nevertheless, despite their impressive empirical performance, there is a lack of theoretical results explaining their behavior. In this paper we studied the node2vec and DeepWalk algorithms through the perspective of matrix factorization. We analyze these algorithms in the setting of community detection for stochastic blockmodel graphs; in particular we established large-sample error bounds and prove consistent community recovery of node2vec/DeepWalk embedding followed by k-means clustering. Our theoretical results indicate a subtle interplay between the sparsity of the observed networks, the window sizes of the random walks, and the convergence rates of the node2vec/DeepWalk embedding toward the embedding of the true but unknown edge probabilities matrix. More specifically, as the network becomes sparser, our results suggest using larger window sizes, or equivalently, taking longer random walks, in order to attain better convergence rate for the resulting embeddings. The paper includes numerical experiments corroborating these observations.

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