Think Globally, Act Locally: On the Optimal Seeding for Nonsubmodular Influence Maximization

by   Grant Schoenebeck, et al.

We study the r-complex contagion influence maximization problem. In the influence maximization problem, one chooses a fixed number of initial seeds in a social network to maximize the spread of their influence. In the r-complex contagion model, each uninfected vertex in the network becomes infected if it has at least r infected neighbors. In this paper, we focus on a random graph model named the stochastic hierarchical blockmodel, which is a special case of the well-studied stochastic blockmodel. When the graph is not exceptionally sparse, in particular, when each edge appears with probability ω(n^-(1+1/r)), under certain mild assumptions, we prove that the optimal seeding strategy is to put all the seeds in a single community. This matches the intuition that in a nonsubmodular cascade model placing seeds near each other creates synergy. However, it sharply contrasts with the intuition for submodular cascade models (e.g., the independent cascade model and the linear threshold model) in which nearby seeds tend to erode each others' effects. Our key technique is a novel time-asynchronized coupling of four cascade processes. Finally, we show that this observation yields a polynomial time dynamic programming algorithm which outputs optimal seeds if each edge appears with a probability either in ω(n^-(1+1/r)) or in o(n^-2).


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