Learnability of Influence in Networks

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 28 (NIPS 2015)

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Harikrishna Narasimhan, David C. Parkes, Yaron Singer


We establish PAC learnability of influence functions for three common influence models, namely, the Linear Threshold (LT), Independent Cascade (IC) and Voter models, and present concrete sample complexity results in each case. Our results for the LT model are based on interesting connections with neural networks; those for the IC model are based an interpretation of the influence function as an expectation over random draw of a subgraph and use covering number arguments; and those for the Voter model are based on a reduction to linear regression. We show these results for the case in which the cascades are only partially observed and we do not see the time steps in which a node has been influenced. We also provide efficient polynomial time learning algorithms for a setting with full observation, i.e. where the cascades also contain the time steps in which nodes are influenced.