In this article, we tackle a challenging problem in quantitative graph theory. We establish relations between graph entropy measures representing the structural information content of networks. In particular, we prove formal relations between quantitative network measures based on Shannon's entropy to study the relatedness of those measures. In order to establish such information inequalities for graphs, we focus on graph entropy measures based on information functionals. To prove such relations, we use known graph classes whose instances have been proven useful in various scientific areas. Our results extend the foregoing work on information inequalities for graphs.
Citation: Dehmer M, Sivakumar L (2012) Recent Developments in Quantitative Graph Theory: Information Inequalities for Networks. PLoS ONE 7(2): e31395. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031395
Editor: Frank Emmert-Streib, Queen's University Belfast, United Kingdom
Received: December 2, 2011; Accepted: January 6, 2012; Published: February 15, 2012
Copyright: © 2012 Dehmer, Sivakumar. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funding: Matthias Dehmer and Lavanya Sivakumar thank the Austrian Science Fund (Project No. PN22029-N13) for supporting this work. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
Complexity is an intricate and versatile concept that is associated with the design and configuration of any system , . For example, complexity can be measured and characterized by quantitative measures often called indices –. When studying the concept of complexity, information theory has been playing a pioneering and leading role. Prominent examples are the theory of communication and applied physics where the famous Shannon entropy  has extensively been used. To study issues of complexity in natural sciences and, in particular, the influence and use of information theory, see .
In this paper, we deal with an important aspect when studying the complexity of network-based systems. In particular, we establish relations between information-theoretic complexity measures , –. Recall that such entropic measures have been used to quantify the information content of the underlying networks , . Generally, this relates to exploring the complexity of a graph by taking its structural features into account. Note that numerous measures have been developed to study the structural complexity of graphs , , –. Further, the use and ability of the measures has been demonstrated by solving interdisciplinary problems. As a result, such studies have led to a vast number of contributions dealing with the analysis of complex systems by means of information-theoretic measures, see, e.g., , –. Figure 1 shows a classification scheme of quantitative network measures exemplarily.
Figure 1. A classification of quantitative network measures.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031395.g001
The main contribution of this paper is to study relations between entropy measures. We will tackle this problem by means of inequalities involving network information measures. In particular, we study so-called implicit information inequalities which have been introduced by Dehmer et al. ,  for studying graph entropies using information functionals. Generally, an implicit information inequality involves information measures which are present on either side of the inequality. It is important to emphasize that relatively little work has been done to investigate relations between network measures. A classical contribution in this area is due to Bonchev et al. . Here, the relatedness between information-theoretic network measures has been investigated to detect branching in chemical networks. Further, implicit information inequalities have been studied for hierarchical graphs which turned out to be useful in network biology .
We first present closed form expressions of graph entropies using the graph classes, stars and path graphs. Further, we infer novel information inequalities for the measures based on the -sphere functional. The section “Implicit Information Inequalities” presents our main results on novel implicit inequalities for networks. We conclude the paper with a summary and some open problems. Before discussing our results, we will first present the information-theoretic measures that we want to investigate in this paper.
In this section, we briefly state the concrete definitions of the information-theoretic complexity measures that are used for characterizing complex network structures , , , . Here we state measures based on two major classifications namely partition-based and partition-independent measures and deal mainly with the latter.
Given a simple, undirected graph , let denote the distance between two vertices and , and let . Let denote the -sphere of a vertex defined as . Throughout this article, a graph represents a simple undirected graph.
Definition 1 Let be a graph on vertices and let be a graph invariant of . Let be an equivalence relation that partitions into subsets , with cardinality for . The total structural information content of is given by(1)
In the context of theory of communication, the above equation is called as Shannon equation of information .
Remark 1 Observe that, defines a probability distribution over the set of vertices as it satisfies , for every vertex , and .
Remark 2 Observe that, when either or the are all equal, the functional and becomes a constant function and, hence, the probability on all the vertices are equal. That is , for . Thus, the value of the entropy attains its maximum value, . Thus, in all our proofs, we only consider the non-trivial case, namely and/or at least for two coefficients holds .
Next, we will define the local information graph to use local centrality measures from . Let be the subgraph induced by the shortest path starting from the vertex to all the vertices at distance in . Then, is called the local information graph regarding with respect to , see . A local centrality measure that can be applied to determine the structural information content of a network  is then defined as follows.
Remark 3 Note that centrality is an important concept that has been introduced for analyzing social networks , . Many centrality measures have been contributed , and in particular, various definitions for closeness centrality –. We remark that the above definition has been firstly defined by Sabidussi  for arbitrary graphs. However, we use the measure as a local invariant defined on the subgraphs induced by the local information graph .
Similar to the -sphere functionals, we define further functionals based on the local centrality measure as follows.
Note that the coefficients can be chosen arbitrarily. However, the functionals become more meaningful when we choose the coefficients to emphasize certain structural characteristics of the underlying graphs. Also, this remark implies that the notion of graph entropy is not unique because each measure takes different structural features into account. Further, this can be understood by the fact that a vast number of entropy measures have been developed so far. Importantly, we point out that the measures we explore in this paper are notably different to the notion of graph entropy introduced by Körner . The graph entropy due to Körner  is rooted in information theory and based on the known stable set problem. To study more related work, survey papers on graph entropy measures have been authored by Dehmer et al.  and Simonyi .
Results and Discussion
Closed Form Expressions and Explicit Information Inequalities
When calculating the structural information content of graphs, it is evident that the determination of closed form expressions using arbitrary networks is critical. In this section, we consider simple graphs namely trees with smallest and largest diameter and compute the measures defined in the previous section. By using arbitrary connected graphs, we also derive explicit information inequalities using the measures based on information functionals (stated in the previous section).
Star graphs, , have been of considerable interest because they represent trees with smallest possible diameter () among all trees on vertices.
Now, we present closed form expressions for the graph entropy by using star graphs. For this, we apply the information-theoretic measures based on information functionals defined in the preliminaries section.
Theorem 4 Let be a star on vertices. Let be the information functionals as defined before. The information measure is given by(10)
where is the probability of the central vertex of :(11)
- Consider , where and for .
- Consider , where for .
- Consider the case , where , for .
- Consider , where for . is defined via Equation (18). We get,(25)
By substituting the value of in and simplifying, we get(28)
By choosing particular values for the parameters involved, we get concrete measures using the above stated functionals. For example, consider the functional and set(29)
If we plug in those values in Equations (10) and (11), we easily derive(30)
Let be the path graph on vertices. Path graphs are the only trees with maximum diameter among all the trees on vertices, i.e., . We remark that to compute a closed form expression even for path graphs, is not always simple. To illustrate this, we present the concrete information measure by choosing particular values for its coefficients.
Proof: Let be a path graph trivially labeled by , (from left to right).
Given with for .
Note that when using the same measure with arbitrary coefficients, its computation is intricate. In this regard, we present explicit bounds or information inequalities for any connected graph if the measure is based on the information functional using -spheres. That is, either or .
General connected graphs.
Proof: Consider , where and for . Let and . Recall (see Remark (2)) that, when either or when all the coefficients () are equal, the information functional becomes constant and, hence, the value of equals . In the following, we will discuss the cases and , and we also assume that not all are equal.
Case 1: : We first construct the bounds for as shown below:(42)
Therefore, from the Equations (43) and (44), we get(45)
Let . Then, the last inequality can be rewritten as,(47)
Upper bound for :
Lower bound for :
We have to distinguish two cases, either or .
Case 1.2: .
In this case, we obtain and . Therefore, by using these bounds in Equation (4), we infer .
Case 2: :
Upper bound for :
Lower bound for :
Again, we consider two cases, either or .
Case 2.1: .
In this case, we have and . Therefore, by substituting these bounds in the Equation (4), we obtain .
Case 2.2: .
In the next theorem, we obtain explicit bounds when using the information functional given by Equation (6).
Upper bound for :
Lower bound for :
Let us distinguish two cases:
Case 1: .
We have and . Therefore, by applying these bounds to Equation (4), we obtain .
Case 2: .
Implicit Information Inequalities
Information inequalities describe relations between information measures for graphs. An implicit information inequality is a special type of an information inequality where the entropy of the graph is estimated by a quantity that contains another graph entropy expression. In this section, we will present some implicit information inequalities for entropy measures based on information functionals. In this direction, a first attempt has been done by Dehmer et al. , , . Note that Dehmer et al. ,  started from certain conditions on the probabilities when two different information functionals and are given. In contrast, we start from certain assumptions which the functionals themselves should satisfy and, finally, derive novel implicit inequalities. Now, given any graph . Let and be two mean information measures of defined using the information functionals and respectively. Let us further define another functional , . In the following, we will study the relation between the information measure and the measures and .
Now consider the probabilities,(76)
Using Equation (77) and based on the fact that , we get(79)
Since the last term in the above inequality is positive, we get(82)
By adding up the above inequalities over all the vertices of , we get the desired upper bound. From Equation (77), we also get a lower bound for , given by(83)
Now proceeding as before with the above inequality for , we obtain(84)
By using the concavity property of the logarithm, that is, , we yield(86)
By adding the above inequality over all the vertices of , we get the desired lower bound. This proves the theorem.
Proof: Set in Theorem (8), then the corollary follows.
Proof: Follows from Corollary (9).
The next theorem gives another bound for in terms of both and by using the concavity property of the logarithmic function.
Proof: Starting from the quantities for based on Equation (77), we obtain(92)
Since each of the last two terms in Equation (95) is positive, we get a lower bound for , given by(96)
Applying the last inequality to Equation (4), we get the upper bound as given in Equation (91). By further applying the inequality to Equation (95), we get an upper bound for , given by(97)
Finally, we now apply this inequality to Equation (4) and get the lower bound as given in Equation (90).
The next theorem is a straightforward extension of the previous statement. Here, an information functional is expressed as a linear combination of arbitrary information functionals.
Union of Graphs.
In this section, we determine the entropy of the union of two graphs. Let and be two arbitrary connected graphs on and vertices, respectively. Let be an information functional defined on these graphs denoted by , and let and be the information measures on and respectively.
Proof: Let be the given information functional. Let and . The information measures of and are given as follows:(102)
where , and(103)
Using these quantities to determine , we obtain(108)
Upon simplification, we get the desired result.
Also, we immediately obtain a generalization of the previous theorem by taking -disjoint graphs into account.
Theorem 14 Let , be arbitrary connected graphs on vertices, respectively. Let be an information functional defined on these graphs denoted by . Let be the disjoint union of the graphs for . The information measure can be expressed in terms of , as follows:(110)
where with for .
Join of Graphs.
Let and be two arbitrary connected graphs on and vertices, respectively. The join of the graphs is defined as the graph with vertex set and the edge set . Let be the information functional (given by Equation (5)) based on the -sphere functional (exponential) defined on these graphs and denoted by , . Let and be the information measures on and respectively.
Proof: Let be the join of two connected graphs and . Here, . Let be the information functional defined by using the -sphere functional on . Let and . The information measures of and are given as follows:(112)
Using those entities to determine , we infer(119)
Upon simplification, we get the desired result.
If we consider the linear -sphere functional (see Equation (6)), to infer an exact expression for the join of two graphs as in Theorem (15) is an intricate problem. By Theorem (16) and Theorem (17), we will now present different bounds in terms of and .
Proof: Let and . The information measures of and are given as follows:(122)
Since and are positive, we get a lower bound for given as(129)
To infer a lower bound for the information measure , we start from the Equations (128), (129) and obtain(130)
By using the inequality and performing simplification steps, we get,(133)
By adding up the above inequality system (across all the vertices of ) and by simplifying, we get the desired lower bound.
Further, an alternate set of bounds can be achieved as follows.
Proof: Starting from Theorem (16), consider the value of given by Equation (128). By using the quantities for to calculate , we get(136)
By simplifying and performing summation, we get(138)
An upper bound for the measure can be derived as follows:(139)
since each of the remaining terms in Equation (138) is positive. Finally, we infer the lower bound for as follows. By applying inequality to Equation (138), we get(140)
Upon simplification, we get(141)
Putting Inequality (139) and Inequality (141) together finishes the proof of the theorem.
Summary and Conclusion
In this article, we have investigated a challenging problem in quantitative graph theory namely to establish relations between graph entropy measures. Among the existing graph entropy measures, we have considered those entropies which are based on information functionals. It turned out that these measures have widely been applicable and useful when measuring the complexity of networks .
In general, to find relations between quantitative network measures is a daunting problem. The results could be used in various branches of science including mathematics, statistics, information theory, biology, chemistry and social sciences. Further, the determination of analytical relations between measures is of great practical importance when dealing with large scale networks. Also, relations involving quantitative network measures could be fruitful when determining the information content of large complex networks.
Note that our proof technique follows the one proposed in . It is based on three main steps: Firstly, we compute the information functionals and in turn, we calculate the probability values for every vertex of the graph in question. Secondly, we start with certain conditions for the computed functionals and arrive at a system of inequalities. Thirdly, by adding up the corresponding inequality system, we obtain the desired implicit information inequality. Using this approach, we have inferred novel bounds by assuming certain information functionals. It is evident that further bounds could be inferred by taking novel information functionals into account. Further, we explored relations between the involved information measures for general connected graphs and for special classes of graphs such as stars, path graphs, union and join of graphs.
At this juncture, it is also relevant to compare the results proved in this paper with those proved in . While we derived the implicit information inequalities by assuming certain properties for the functionals, the implicit information inequalities derived in  are based on certain conditions for the calculated vertex probabilities. Interestingly, note that by using Theorem (11) and Theorem (17), the range of the corresponding bounds is very small. We inferred that the difference between the upper and lower bound equals .
As noted earlier, relations between entropy-based measures for graphs have not been extensively explored so far. Apart from the results we have gained in this paper, we therefore state a few open problems as future work:
- To find relations between and , when is an induced subgraph of and is an arbitrary information functional.
- To find relations between and , where , are so-called generalized trees, see . Note that it is always possible to decompose an arbitrary, undirected graph into a set of generalized trees .
- To find relations between measures based on information functionals and the other classical graph measures.
- To derive information inequalities for graph entropy measures using random graphs.
- To derive statements to judge the quality of information inequalities.
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