Isomorphisms in Multilayer Networks

M. Kivelä, M. A. Porter

We extend the concept of graph isomorphisms to multilayer networks with any number of “aspects” (i.e., types of layering), and we identify multiple types of isomorphisms. For example, in multilayer networks with a single aspect, permuting vertex labels, layer labels, and both vertex labels and layer labels each yield different isomorphism relations between multilayer networks. Multilayer network isomorphisms lead naturally to defining isomorphisms in any of the numerous types of network that can be represented as a multilayer network, and we thereby obtain isomorphisms for multiplex networks, temporal networks, networks with both of these features, and more. We reduce each of the multilayer network isomorphism problems to a graph isomorphism problem such that the size of the graph isomorphism problem grows linearly with the size of the multilayer network isomorphism problem. One can thus use software that has been developed to solve graph isomorphism problems as a practical means for solving multilayer network isomorphism problems. Our theory lays a foundation for extending many network analysis methods such as motifs, graphlets, structural roles, and network alignment to any multilayer network.

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