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Title: Diffusion source identification on networks with statistical confidence Authors:  Quinlan Dawkins - University of Virginia (United States)
Tianxi Li - University of Virginia (United States) [presenting]
Haifeng Xu - University of Virginia (United States)
Abstract: Diffusion source identification on networks is a problem of fundamental importance in a broad class of applications, including rumor controlling and virus identification. Though this problem has received significant recent attention, most studies have focused only on very restrictive settings and lack theoretical guarantees for more realistic networks. We introduce a statistical framework for the study of diffusion source identification and develop a confidence set inference approach inspired by hypothesis testing. Our method efficiently produces a small subset of nodes, which provably covers the source node with any pre-specified confidence level without restrictive assumptions on network structures. To our knowledge, this is the first diffusion source identification method with a practically useful theoretical guarantee on general networks. We demonstrate our approach via extensive synthetic experiments on well-known random network models and a mobility network between cities concerning the COVID-19 spreading.