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Detecting Global Bridges in Networks

Matteo Morini, Alessandro Vespignani, Eric Fleury, Jean-Philippe Cointet, Mathieu Jacomy, Márton Karsai, Pablo Jensen, Pierre Mercklé, Tommaso Venturini

The identification of nodes occupying important positions in a network structure is crucial for the understanding of the associated real-world system. Usually, betweenness centrality is used to evaluate a node capacity to connect different graph regions. However, we argue here that this measure is not adapted for that task, as it gives equal weight to "local" centers (i.e. nodes of high degree central to a single region) and to "global" bridges, which connect different communities. This distinction is important as the roles of such nodes are different in terms of the local and global organisation of the network structure. In this paper we propose a decomposition of betweenness centrality into two terms, one highlighting the local contributions and the other the global ones. We call the latter bridgeness centrality and show that it is capable to specifically spot out global bridges. In addition, we introduce an effective algorithmic implementation of this measure and demonstrate its capability to identify global bridges in air transportation and scientific collaboration networks.