Efficient Minimax Signal Detection on Graphs

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 27 (NIPS 2014)

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Jing Qian, Venkatesh Saligrama


Several problems such as network intrusion, community detection, and disease outbreak can be described by observations attributed to nodes or edges of a graph. In these applications presence of intrusion, community or disease outbreak is characterized by novel observations on some unknown connected subgraph. These problems can be formulated in terms of optimization of suitable objectives on connected subgraphs, a problem which is generally computationally difficult. We overcome the combinatorics of connectivity by embedding connected subgraphs into linear matrix inequalities (LMI). Computationally efficient tests are then realized by optimizing convex objective functions subject to these LMI constraints. We prove, by means of a novel Euclidean embedding argument, that our tests are minimax optimal for exponential family of distributions on 1-D and 2-D lattices. We show that internal conductance of the connected subgraph family plays a fundamental role in characterizing detectability.