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Many, if not most network analysis algorithms have been designed specifically for single-relational networks; that is, networks in which all edges are of the same type. For example, edges may either represent "friendship," "kinship," or "collaboration," but not all of them together. In contrast, a multi-relational network is a network with a heterogeneous set of edge labels which can represent relationships of various types in a single data structure. While multi-relational networks are more expressive in terms of the variety of relationships they can capture, there is a need for a general framework for transferring the many single-relational network analysis algorithms to the multi-relational domain. It is not sufficient to execute a single-relational network analysis algorithm on a multi-relational network by simply ignoring edge labels. This article presents an algebra for mapping multi-relational networks to single-relational networks, thereby exposing them to single-relational network analysis algorithms.
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