Centrality
Centrality is a key concept in network theory that helps to identify the most important vertices within a graph. It is used in various fields such as sociology, computer science, biology, and transportation to understand the influence, communication potential, or importance of nodes in a network. There are several measures of centrality that highlight different aspects of importance, including Degree centrality, Closeness centrality, Betweenness centrality, and Eigenvector centrality.
Degree Centrality[edit  edit source]
Degree centrality is the simplest form of centrality and is based on the number of links incident upon a node. In other words, it measures the number of direct connections a node has. For directed graphs, this can be further divided into indegree centrality (number of incoming links) and outdegree centrality (number of outgoing links).
Closeness Centrality[edit  edit source]
Closeness centrality focuses on how close a node is to all other nodes in the network. It is calculated as the reciprocal of the sum of the shortest path distances from a given node to all other nodes in the network. Nodes with lower total distances to all other nodes are considered more central.
Betweenness Centrality[edit  edit source]
Betweenness centrality measures the extent to which a node lies on the shortest paths between other nodes. It highlights nodes that serve as bridges within the network. A high betweenness centrality score indicates a node has considerable influence over the flow of information or resources within the network.
Eigenvector Centrality[edit  edit source]
Eigenvector centrality assigns relative scores to all nodes in the network based on the principle that connections to highscoring nodes contribute more to the score of a node than equal connections to lowscoring nodes. It reflects the idea that not all connections are equal, and being connected to a highly connected node can make a node more central.
Applications of Centrality[edit  edit source]
Centrality measures are widely used in various applications. In social network analysis, they help identify influential individuals or key spreaders of information. In transportation networks, centrality can indicate critical junctions or stations. In internet topology and web graph analysis, centrality measures can identify important web pages or routers.
Challenges and Considerations[edit  edit source]
While centrality measures provide valuable insights, they also come with challenges. The choice of centrality measure can significantly affect the analysis outcome, and each measure captures a different aspect of importance. Additionally, the computation of certain centrality measures, like betweenness centrality, can be computationally intensive for large networks.
Conclusion[edit  edit source]
Centrality is a fundamental concept in network analysis that provides a quantitative measure of the importance of nodes in a network. By understanding and applying different centrality measures, researchers and practitioners can gain insights into the structure and dynamics of complex networks.
Centrality Resources  



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Credits:Most images are courtesy of Wikimedia commons, and templates Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY SA or similar.Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD