The Star Degree Centrality Problem: A Decomposition Approach

Mustafa C. Camur, Thomas Sharkey, Chrysafis Vogiatzis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We consider the problem of identifying the induced star with the largest cardinality open neighborhood in a graph. This problem, also known as the star degree centrality (SDC) problem, is shown to be N P-complete. In this work, we first propose a new integer programming (IP) formulation, which has a smaller number of constraints and nonzero coefficients in them than the existing formulation in the literature. We present classes of networks in which the problem is solvable in polynomial time and offer a new proof of N P-completeness that shows the problem remains N P-complete for both bipartite and split graphs. In addition, we propose a decomposition framework that is suitable for both the existing and our formulations. We implement several acceleration techniques in this framework, motivated by techniques used in Benders decomposition. We test our approaches on networks generated based on the Barabási-Albert, Erdös-Rényi, and Watts-Strogatz models. Our decomposition approach outperforms solving the IP formulations in most of the instances in terms of both solution time and quality; this is especially true for larger and denser graphs. We then test the decomposition algorithm on largescale protein-protein interaction networks, for which SDC is shown to be an important centrality metric. Summary of Contribution: In this study, we first introduce a new integer programming (NIP) formulation for the star degree centrality (SDC) problem in which the goal is to identify the induced star with the largest open neighborhood. We then show that, although the SDC can be efficiently solved in tree graphs, it remains N P-complete in both split and bipartite graphs via a reduction performed from the set cover problem. In addition, we implement a decomposition algorithm motivated by Benders decomposition together with several acceleration techniques to both the NIP formulation and the existing formulation in the literature. Our experimental results indicate that the decomposition implementation on the NIP is the best solution method in terms of both solution time and quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-112
Number of pages20
JournalINFORMS Journal on Computing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Star degree centrality
  • decomposition algorithm
  • protein-protein interaction networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Management Science and Operations Research


Dive into the research topics of 'The Star Degree Centrality Problem: A Decomposition Approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this