Link prediction with hyperbolic geometry
Link prediction is a paradigmatic problem in network science with a variety of applications. In latent space network models this problem boils down to ranking pairs of nodes in the order of increasing latent distances between them. The network model with hyperbolic latent spaces has a number of attractive properties suggesting it must be a powerful tool to predict links, but the past work in this direction reported mixed results. Here we perform a systematic investigation of the utility of latent hyperbolic geometry for link prediction in networks. We first show that some measures of link prediction accuracy are extremely sensitive with respect to inaccuracies in the inference of latent hyperbolic coordinates of nodes. This observation leads us to the development of a hyperbolic network embedding method, the HyperLink embedder, which we show maximizes the accuracy of such inference, compared to existing hyperbolic embedding methods. Applying this method to synthetic and real networks, we then find that when it comes to predicting obvious missing links hyperbolic link prediction—for short, HyperLink—is rarely the best but often competitive, compared to a multitude of other methods. However, HyperLink appears to be at its best, maximizing its competitive power, when the task is to predict less obvious missing links that are really hard to predict. These links include missing links in incomplete networks with large fractions of missing links, missing links between nodes that do not have any common neighbors, and missing links between dissimilar nodes at large latent distances. Overall these results suggest that the harder a specific link prediction task the more seriously one should consider using hyperbolic geometry.