Faster maximal clique enumeration in large real-world link streams

Alexis Baudin, Clémence Magnien, Lionel Tabourier

arXiv preprint arXiv:2302.00360

Link streams offer a good model for representing interactions over time. They consist of links (b,e,u,v), where u and v are vertices interacting during the whole time interval [b,e]. In this paper, we deal with the problem of enumerating maximal cliques in link streams. A clique is a pair (C,[t0,t1]), where C is a set of vertices that all interact pairwise during the full interval [t0,t1]. It is maximal when neither its set of vertices nor its time interval can be increased. Some of the main works solving this problem are based on the famous Bron-Kerbosch algorithm for enumerating maximal cliques in graphs. We take this idea as a starting point to propose a new algorithm which matches the cliques of the instantaneous graphs formed by links existing at a given time t to the maximal cliques of the link stream. We prove its validity and compute its complexity, which is better than the state-of-the art ones in many cases of interest. We also study the output-sensitive complexity, which is close to the output size, thereby showing that our algorithm is efficient. To confirm this, we perform experiments on link streams used in the state of the art, and on massive link streams, up to 100 million links. In all cases our algorithm is faster, mostly by a factor of at least 10 and up to a factor of 10**4. Moreover, it scales to massive link streams for which the existing algorithms are not able to provide the solution.