Top influencers can be identified universally by combining classical centralities

Doina Bucur*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
57 Downloads (Pure)


Information flow, opinion, and epidemics spread over structured networks. When using node centrality indicators to predict which nodes will be among the top influencers or superspreaders, no single centrality is a consistently good ranker across networks. We show that statistical classifiers using two or more centralities are instead consistently predictive over many diverse, static real-world topologies. Certain pairs of centralities cooperate particularly well in drawing the statistical boundary between the superspreaders and the rest: a local centrality measuring the size of a node’s neighbourhood gains from the addition of a global centrality such as the eigenvector centrality, closeness, or the core number. Intuitively, this is because a local centrality may rank highly nodes which are located in locally dense, but globally peripheral regions of the network. The additional global centrality indicator guides the prediction towards more central regions. The superspreaders usually jointly maximise the values of both centralities. As a result of the interplay between centrality indicators, training classifiers with seven classical indicators leads to a nearly maximum average precision function (0.995) across the networks in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20550
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Early online date25 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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