Flow-based reputation with uncertainty: evidence-based subjective logic

B. Skoric, S.J.A. Hoogh, de, N. Zannone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
141 Downloads (Pure)


The concept of reputation is widely used as a measure of trustworthiness based on ratings from members in a community. The adoption of reputation systems, however, relies on their ability to capture the actual trustworthiness of a target. Several reputation models for aggregating trust information have been proposed in the literature. The choice of model has an impact on the reliability of the aggregated trust information as well as on the procedure used to compute reputations. Two prominent models are flow-based reputation (e.g., EigenTrust, PageRank) and subjective logic-based reputation. Flow-based models provide an automated method to aggregate trust information, but they are not able to express the level of uncertainty in the information. In contrast, subjective logic extends probabilistic models with an explicit notion of uncertainty, but the calculation of reputation depends on the structure of the trust network and often requires information to be discarded. These are severe drawbacks. In this work, we observe that the ‘opinion discounting’ operation in subjective logic has a number of basic problems. We resolve these problems by providing a new discounting operator that describes the flow of evidence from one party to another. The adoption of our discounting rule results in a consistent subjective logic algebra that is entirely based on the handling of evidence. We show that the new algebra enables the construction of an automated reputation assessment procedure for arbitrary trust networks, where the calculation no longer depends on the structure of the network, and does not need to throw away any information. Thus, we obtain the best of both worlds: flow-based reputation and consistent handling of uncertainties. Keywords: Reputation systems; Evidence theory; Subjective logic; Flow-based reputation models
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-402
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Information Security
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • Reputation systems
  • Evidence theory
  • Subjective logic
  • Flow-based reputation models


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