DOI: 10.3390/e26030256 ISSN: 1099-4300

Patterns in Temporal Networks with Higher-Order Egocentric Structures

Beatriz Arregui-García, Antonio Longa, Quintino Francesco Lotito, Sandro Meloni, Giulia Cencetti
  • General Physics and Astronomy

The analysis of complex and time-evolving interactions, such as those within social dynamics, represents a current challenge in the science of complex systems. Temporal networks stand as a suitable tool for schematizing such systems, encoding all the interactions appearing between pairs of individuals in discrete time. Over the years, network science has developed many measures to analyze and compare temporal networks. Some of them imply a decomposition of the network into small pieces of interactions; i.e., only involving a few nodes for a short time range. Along this line, a possible way to decompose a network is to assume an egocentric perspective; i.e., to consider for each node the time evolution of its neighborhood. This was proposed by Longa et al. by defining the “egocentric temporal neighborhood”, which has proven to be a useful tool for characterizing temporal networks relative to social interactions. However, this definition neglects group interactions (quite common in social domains), as they are always decomposed into pairwise connections. A more general framework that also allows considering larger interactions is represented by higher-order networks. Here, we generalize the description of social interactions to hypergraphs. Consequently, we generalize their decomposition into “hyper egocentric temporal neighborhoods”. This enables the analysis of social interactions, facilitating comparisons between different datasets or nodes within a dataset, while considering the intrinsic complexity presented by higher-order interactions. Even if we limit the order of interactions to the second order (triplets of nodes), our results reveal the importance of a higher-order representation.In fact, our analyses show that second-order structures are responsible for the majority of the variability at all scales: between datasets, amongst nodes, and over time.

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