An Exact No Free Lunch Theorem for Community Detection

A precondition for a No Free Lunch theorem is evaluation with a loss function which does not assume a priori superiority of some outputs over others. A previous result for community detection by Peel et al. (2017) relies on a mismatch between the loss function and the problem domain. The loss function computes an expectation over only a subset of the universe of possible outputs; thus, it is only asymptotically appropriate with respect to the problem size. By using the correct random model for the problem domain, we provide a stronger, exact No Free Lunch theorem for community detection. The claim generalizes to other set-partitioning tasks including core/periphery separation, k-clustering, and graph partitioning. Finally, we review the literature of proposed evaluation functions and identify functions which (perhaps with slight modifications) are compatible with an exact No Free Lunch theorem.


An Exact No Free Lunch Theorem for Community Detection
Arya D. McCarthy, Tongfei Chen, Seth Ebner