Role analysis in networks using mixtures of exponential random graph models


This article introduces a novel and flexible framework for investigating the roles of actors within a network. Particular interest is in roles as defined by local network connectivity patterns, identified using the ego-networks extracted from the network. A mixture of exponential-family random graph models (ERGM) is developed for these ego-networks to cluster the nodes into roles. We refer to this model as the ego-ERGM. An expectation-maximization algorithm is developed to infer the unobserved cluster assignments and to estimate the mixture model parameters using a maximum pseudo-likelihood approximation. We demonstrate the flexibility and utility of the method using examples of simulated and real networks.

Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics