Quantification of network structural dissimilarities

Identifying and quantifying dissimilarities among graphs is a fundamental and challenging problem of practical importance in many fields of science. Current methods of network comparison are limited to extract only partial information or are computationally very demanding. Here we propose an efficient and precise measure for network comparison, which is based on quantifying differences among distance probability distributions extracted from the networks. Extensive experiments on synthetic and real-world networks show that this measure returns non-zero values only when the graphs are non-isomorphic. Most importantly, the measure proposed here can identify and quantify structural topological differences that have a practical impact on the information flow through the network, such as the presence or absence of critical links that connect or disconnect connected components.