A Survey of Community Detection Approaches: From Statistical Modeling to Deep Learning

Di Jin, Zhizhi Yu, Pengfei Jiao, Shirui Pan, Dongxiao He, Jia Wu, Philip S. Yu, Weixiong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Community detection, a fundamental task for network analysis, aims to partition a network into multiple sub-structures to help reveal their latent functions. Community detection has been extensively studied in and broadly applied to many real-world network problems. Classical approaches to community detection typically utilize probabilistic graphical models and adopt a variety of prior knowledge to infer community structures. As the problems that network methods try to solve and the network data to be analyzed become increasingly more sophisticated, new approaches have also been proposed and developed, particularly those that utilize deep learning and convert networked data into low dimensional representation. Despite all the recent advancement, there is still a lack of insightful understanding of the theoretical and methodological underpinning of community detection, which will be critically important for future development of the area of network analysis. In this paper, we develop and present a unified architecture of network community-finding methods to characterize the state-of-the-art of the field of community detection. Specifically, we provide a comprehensive review of the existing community detection methods and introduce a new taxonomy that divides the existing methods into two categories, namely probabilistic graphical model and deep learning. We then discuss in detail the main idea behind each method in the two categories. Furthermore, to promote future development of community detection, we release several benchmark datasets from several problem domains and highlight their applications to various network analysis tasks. We conclude with discussions of the challenges of the field and suggestions of possible directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1149-1170
Number of pages22
JournalIEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023


  • Complex network
  • community detection
  • deep learning
  • graph clustering
  • statistical modeling


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