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Contagion dynamics in time-varying metapopulation networks

Liu, S. Y., Baronchelli, A. & Perra, N. (2013). Contagion dynamics in time-varying metapopulation networks. Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics, 87(3), article number 032805. doi: 10.1103/physreve.87.032805


The metapopulation framework is adopted in a wide array of disciplines to describe systems of well separated yet connected subpopulations. The subgroups or patches are often represented as nodes in a network whose links represent the migration routes among them. The connections have been so far mostly considered as static, but in general evolve in time. Here we address this case by investigating simple contagion processes on time-varying metapopulation networks. We focus on the SIR process and determine analytically the mobility threshold for the onset of an epidemic spreading in the framework of activity-driven network models. We find profound differences from the case of static networks. The threshold is entirely described by the dynamical parameters defining the average number of instantaneously migrating individuals and does not depend on the properties of the static network representation. Remarkably, the diffusion and contagion processes are slower in time-varying graphs than in their aggregated static counterparts, the mobility threshold being even two orders of magnitude larger in the first case. The presented results confirm the importance of considering the time-varying nature of complex networks.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Mathematics
SWORD Depositor:
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