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Probing empirical contact networks by simulation of spreading dynamics

Petter Holme

posted on 03 July 2017

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Disease, opinions, ideas, gossip, etc. all spread on social networks. How these networks are connected (the network structure) influences the dynamics of the spreading processes. By investigating these relationships one gains understanding both of the spreading itself and the structure and function of the contact network. In this chapter, we will summarize the recent literature using simulation of spreading processes on top of empirical contact data. We will mostly focus on disease simulations on temporal proximity networks -- networks recording who is close to whom, at what time -- but also cover other types of networks and spreading processes. We analyze 29 empirical networks to illustrate the methods.