Community Detection in Networks using Bio-inspired Optimization: Latest Developments, New Results and Perspectives with a Selection of Recent Meta-Heuristics
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Detecting groups within a set of interconnected nodes is a widely addressed prob- lem that can model a diversity of applications. Unfortunately, detecting the opti- mal partition of a network is a computationally demanding task, usually conducted by means of optimization methods. Among them, randomized search heuristics have been proven to be efficient approaches. This manuscript is devoted to pro- viding an overview of community detection problems from the perspective of bio-inspired computation. To this end, we first review the recent history of this research area, placing emphasis on milestone studies contributed in the last five years. Next, we present an extensive experimental study to assess the performance of a selection of modern heuristics over weighted directed network instances. Specifically, we combine seven global search heuristics based on two different similarity metrics and eight heterogeneous search operators designed ad-hoc. We compare our methods with six different community detection techniques over a benchmark of 17 Lancichinetti-Fortunato-Radicchi network instances. Ranking statistics of the tested algorithms reveal that the proposed methods perform com- petitively, but the high variability of the rankings leads to the main conclusion: no clear winner can be declared. This finding aligns with community detection tools available in the literature that hinge on a sequential application of different algorithms in search for the best performing counterpart. We end our research by sharing our envisioned status of this area, for which we identify challenges and opportunities which should stimulate research efforts in years to come.