Estimating the importance or centrality of the nodes in large networks has recently attracted increased interest. Betweenness is one of the most important centrality indices, which basically counts the number of shortest paths going through a node. Betweenness has been used in diverse applications, e.g., social network analysis or route planning. Since exact computation is prohibitive for large networks, approximation algorithms are important. In this paper, we propose a framework for unbiased approximation of betweenness that generalizes a previous approach by Brandes. Our best new schemes yield significantly better approximation than before for many real world inputs. In particular, we also get good approximations for the betweenness of unimportant nodes
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