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Neighbourhood matching creates realistic surrogate temporal networks

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Temporal networks are essential for modeling and understanding systems whose behavior varies in time, from social interactions to biological systems. Often, however, real-world data are prohibitively expensive to collect or unshareable due to privacy concerns. A promising solution is ‘surrogate networks’, synthetic graphs with the properties of real-world networks. Until now, the generation of realistic surrogate temporal networks has remained an open problem, due to the difficulty of capturing both the temporal and topological properties of the input network, as well as their correlations, in a scalable model. Here, we propose a novel and simple method for generating surrogate temporal networks. By decomposing graphs into temporal neighborhoods surrounding each node, we can generate new networks using neighborhoods as building blocks. Our model vastly outperforms current methods across multiple examples of temporal networks in terms of both topological and dynamical similarity. We further show that beyond generating realistic interaction patterns, our method is able to capture intrinsic temporal periodicity of temporal networks, all with an execution time lower than competing methods by multiple orders of magnitude.

This talk is part of the Artificial Intelligence Research Group Talks (Computer Laboratory) series.

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