Epidemic processes in temporal networks

5 March 2015
Vittoria Colizza (INSERM)

In today's interconnected world, the dissemination of an idea, a trend, a rumor through social networks, as well as the propagation of information or cyber-viruses through digital networks are all common phenomena. They are conceptually similar to the spread of infectious diseases among hosts, as common to all these phenomena is the dissemination of a spreading agent on a networked system. A large body of research has been produced in recent years to characterize the spread of epidemics on static connectivity patterns in a wide range of biological and socio-technical systems. In particular, understanding the mechanisms and conditions for widespread dissemination represents a crucial step for its prevention and control (e.g. in the case of diseases) or for its enhancement (e.g. in the case of viral marketing). This task is however further hindered by the temporal nature characterizing the activation of the connections shaping the networked system, for which data has recently become available. As an example, in networks of proximity contacts among individuals, connections represent sequences of contacts that are active for given periods of time. The time variation of contacts in a networked system may fundamentally alter the properties of spreading processes occurring on it, with respect to static networks, and affect the condition at which epidemics become possible. In this talk I will present a novel theoretical framework adopting a multi-layer perspective for the analytical understanding of the interplay between temporal networks and spreading dynamics. The framework is tested on a set of time-varying network models and empirical networks.

  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar