Module detection in complex networks using integer optimisation

Gang Xu, Laura Bennett, Lazaros G. Papageorgiou, Sophia Tsoka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The detection of modules or community structure is widely used to reveal the underlying properties of complex networks in biology, as well as physical and social sciences. Since the adoption of modularity as a measure of network topological properties, several methodologies for the discovery of community structure based on modularity maximisation have been developed. However, satisfactory partitions of large graphs with modest computational resources are particularly challenging due to the NP-hard nature of the related optimisation problem. Furthermore, it has been suggested that optimising the modularity metric can reach a resolution limit whereby the algorithm fails to detect smaller communities than a specific size in large networks. Results: We present a novel solution approach to identify community structure in large complex networks and address resolution limitations in module detection. The proposed algorithm employs modularity to express network community structure and it is based on mixed integer optimisation models. The solution procedure is extended through an iterative procedure to diminish effects that tend to agglomerate smaller modules ( resolution limitations). Conclusions: A comprehensive comparative analysis of methodologies for module detection based on modularity maximisation shows that our approach outperforms previously reported methods. Furthermore, in contrast to previous reports, we propose a strategy to handle resolution limitations in modularity maximisation. Overall, we illustrate ways to improve existing methodologies for community structure identification so as to increase its efficiency and applicability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number36
JournalAlgorithms for Molecular Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2010


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