Skip to Main Content
A rumor spreading in a social network or a disease propagating in a community can be modeled as an infection spreading in a network. Finding the infection source is a challenging problem, which is made more difficult in many applications where we have access only to a limited set of observations. We consider the problem of estimating an infection source for a Susceptible-Infected model, in which not all infected nodes can be observed. When the network is a tree, we show that an estimator for the source node associated with the most likely infection path that yields the limited observations is given by a Jordan center, i.e., a node with minimum distance to the set of observed infected nodes. We also propose approximate source estimators for general networks. Simulation results on various synthetic networks and real world networks suggest that our estimators perform better than distance, closeness, and betweenness centrality based heuristics .