Network alignment (NA) aims to find a node mapping that conserves similar regions between compared networks. NA is applicable to many fields, including computational biology, where NA can guide the transfer of biological knowledge from well- to poorly-studied species across aligned network regions. Existing NA methods can only align static networks. However, most complex real-world systems evolve over time and should thus be modeled as dynamic networks. We hypothesize that aligning dynamic network representations of evolving systems will produce superior alignments compared to aligning the systems’ static network representations, as is currently done.Results:
For this purpose, we introduce the first ever dynamic NA method, DynaMAGNA ++. This proof-of-concept dynamic NA method is an extension of a state-of-the-art static NA method, MAGNA++. Even though both MAGNA++ and DynaMAGNA++ optimize edge as well as node conservation across the aligned networks, MAGNA++ conserves static edges and similarity between static node neighborhoods, while DynaMAGNA++ conserves dynamic edges (events) and similarity between evolving node neighborhoods. For this purpose, we introduce the first ever measure of dynamic edge conservation and rely on our recent measure of dynamic node conservation. Importantly, the two dynamic conservation measures can be optimized with any state-of-the-art NA method and not just MAGNA++. We confirm our hypothesis that dynamic NA is superior to static NA, on synthetic and real-world networks, in computational biology and social domains. DynaMAGNA++ is parallelized and has a user-friendly graphical interface.Availability and implementation:
Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.