Multilayer networks are a powerful paradigm to model complex systems, where various relations might occur among the same set of entities. Despite the keen interest in a variety of problems, algorithms, and analysis methods in this type of network, the problem of extracting dense subgraphs has remained largely unexplored. As a first step in this direction, we study the problem of core decomposition of a multilayer network. Unlike the single-layer counterpart in which cores are all nested into one another, in the multilayer context no total order exists among multilayer cores: they form a lattice whose size is exponential in the number of layers. In this setting we devise three algorithms which differ in the way they visit the core lattice and in their pruning techniques. We assess time and space efficiency of the three algorithms on a large variety of real-world multilayer networks. We then study the problem of extracting only the inner-most cores, i.e., the cores that are not dominated by any other core in terms of their index on all the layers. As inner-most cores are orders of magnitude less than all the cores, it is desirable to develop algorithms that effectively exploit the maximality property and extract inner-most cores directly, without first computing a complete decomposition. Moreover, we showcase an application of the multilayer core-decomposition tool to the problem of densest-subgraph extraction from multilayer networks. We introduce a definition of multilayer densest subgraph that trades-off between high density and number of layers in which the high density holds, and show how multilayer core decomposition can be exploited to approximate this problem with quality guarantees. We also exploit multilayer core decomposition to speed-up the extraction of frequent cross-graph quasi-cliques and to generalize the community-search problem to the multilayer setting. Core Decomposition in Multilayer Networks: Theory, Algorithms, and Applications

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