Butterfly Counting in Bipartite Networks
Seyed-Vahid Sanei-Mehri (Iowa State University); Ahmet Erdem Sariyuce (University at Buffalo); Srikanta Tirthapura (Iowa State University)
We consider the problem of counting motifs in bipartite affiliation networks, such as author-paper, user-product, and actor-movie relations. We focus on counting the number of occurrences of a “butterfly”, a complete 2x2 biclique, the simplest cohesive higher-order structure in a bipartite graph. Our main contribution is a suite of randomized algorithms that can quickly approximate the number of butterflies in a graph with a provable guarantee on accuracy. An experimental evaluation on large real-world networks shows that our algorithms return accurate estimates within a few seconds, even for networks with trillions of butterflies and hundreds of millions of edges.