Backbone reconstruction in temporal networks from epidemic data

Francesco Vincenzo Surano, Christian Bongiorno, Lorenzo Zino, Maurizio Porfiri, Alessandro Rizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many complex systems are characterized by time-varying patterns of interactions. These interactions comprise strong ties, driven by dyadic relationships, and weak ties, based on node-specific attributes. The interplay between strong and weak ties plays an important role on dynamical processes that could unfold on complex systems. However, seldom do we have access to precise information about the time-varying topology of interaction patterns. A particularly elusive question is to distinguish strong from weak ties, on the basis of the sole node dynamics. Building upon analytical results, we propose a statistically-principled algorithm to reconstruct the backbone of strong ties from data of a spreading process, consisting of the time series of individuals' states. Our method is numerically validated over a range of synthetic datasets, encapsulating salient features of real-world systems. Motivated by compelling evidence, we propose the integration of our algorithm in a targeted immunization strategy that prioritizes influential nodes in the inferred backbone. Through Monte Carlo simulations on synthetic networks and a real-world case study, we demonstrate the viability of our approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number042306
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 15 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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