# Mathematical programming formulations for the collapsed k-core problem

In social network analysis, the size of the k-core, i.e., the maximal induced subgraph of the network with minimum degree at least k, is frequently adopted as a typical metric to evaluate the cohesiveness of a community. We address the Collapsed k-Core Problem, which seeks to find a subset of k users, namely the most critical users of the network, the removal of which results in the smallest possible k-core. For the first time, both the problem of finding the k-core of a network and the Collapsed k-Core Problem are formulated using mathematical programming. On the one hand, we model the Collapsed k-Core Problem as a natural deletion-round-indexed Integer Linear formulation. On the other hand, we provide two bilevel programs for the problem, which differ in the way in which the k-core identification problem is formulated at the lower level. The first bilevel formulation is reformulated as a single-level sparse model, exploiting a Benders-like decomposition approach. To derive the second bilevel model, we provide a linear formulation for finding the k-core and use it to state the lower-level problem. We then dualize the lower level and obtain a compact Mixed-Integer Nonlinear single-level problem reformulation. We additionally derive a combinatorial lower bound on the value of the optimal solution and describe some pre-processing procedures, and valid inequalities for the three formulations. The performance of the proposed formulations is compared on a set of benchmarking instances with the existing state-of-the-art solver for mixed-integer bilevel problems proposed in (Fischetti, Ljubić, Monaci, and Sinnl, 2017). Link to the article

CERULLI, M., SERRA, D., SORGENTE, C., ARCHETTI, C. and LJUBIC, I. (2023). Mathematical programming formulations for the collapsed k-core problem. *European Journal of Operational Research*, In press.

Keywords : #(O)-combinatorial-optimization, #Bilevel-optimization, #Social-networks, #k, #Core