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Map equation with metadata

Much of the community detection literature studies structural communities, communities defined solely by the connectivity patterns of the network. Often networks contain additional metadata which can inform community detection such as the grade and gender of students in a high school social network. In this work, we introduce a tuning parameter to the content map equation that allows users of the Infomap community detection algorithm to control the metadata’s relative importance for identifying network structure. On synthetic networks, we show that our algorithm can overcome the structural detectability limit when the metadata are well aligned with community structure. On real-world networks, we show how our algorithm can achieve greater mutual information with the metadata at a cost in the traditional map equation. Our tuning parameter, like the focusing knob of a microscope, allows users to “zoom in” and “zoom out” on communities with varying levels of focus on the metadata.