# A Simple and Strongly-Local Flow-Based Method for Cut Improvement

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Nate Veldt,
David Gleich,
Michael Mahoney
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Proceedings of The 33rd International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 48:1938-1947, 2016.

#### Abstract

Many graph-based learning problems can be cast as finding a good set of vertices nearby a seed set, and a powerful methodology for these problems is based on minimum cuts and maximum flows. We introduce and analyze a new method for locally-biased graph-based learning called SimpleLocal, which finds good conductance cuts near a set of seed vertices. An important feature of our algorithm is that it is strongly-local, meaning it does not need to explore the entire graph to find cuts that are locally optimal. This method is related to other strongly-local flow-based methods, but it enables a simple implementation. We also show how it achieves localization through an implicit l1-norm penalty term. As a flow-based method, our algorithm exhibits several advantages in terms of cut optimality and accurate identification of target regions in a graph. We demonstrate the power of SimpleLocal solving segmentation problems on a 467 million edge graph based on an MRI scan.

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