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Scalable Influence Estimation in Continuous-Time Diffusion Networks

Nan Du, Le Song, Manuel Gomez-Rodriguez, Hongyuan Zha

If a piece of information is released from a media site, can it spread, in 1 month, to a million web pages? This influence estimation problem is very challenging since both the time-sensitive nature of the problem and the issue of scalability need to be addressed simultaneously. In this paper, we propose a randomized algorithm for influence estimation in continuous-time diffusion networks. Our algorithm can estimate the influence of every node in a network with |\Vcal | nodes and |\Ecal | edges to an accuracy of ɛ using n = O(1/ ɛ ^2) randomizations and up to logarithmic factors O(n|\Ecal | + n|\Vcal |) computations. When used as a subroutine in a greedy influence maximization algorithm, our proposed method is guaranteed to find a set of nodes with an influence of at least (1-1/e)OPT-2ɛ, where OPT is the optimal value. Experiments on both synthetic and real-world data show that the proposed method can easily scale up to networks of millions of nodes while significantly improves over previous state-of-the-arts in terms of the accuracy of the estimated influence and the quality of the selected nodes in maximizing the influence.

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