Temporal networks


Networks are everywhere. We, human beings, are bound by social ties to our friends and colleagues, who in turn are bound to others, and so on – finally, each of us is part of an enormous social network spanning the entire planet. We think, feel, and perform actions as a result of electric signals flowing in the network of neurons which forms our brain. Within these neurons, and within the rest of the cells forming our bodies, proteins and metabolites form complex networks of interactions, giving rise to a living organism.

Most networks are very dynamic in nature — their configuration is ever-changing. At the same time, on a very fine-grained level, the links of many networks are active only at specific times. Consider, e.g. networks of social relationships between people: while there are lifelong friendships, many (perhaps most) of our social relationships are temporary, they come and go. If one then “zooms in” on one of such relationships, one can see a series of events: calls, emails, face-to-face encounters. Temporal networks are networks that consist of such timed events.

Our group has been one of the forerunners in temporal networks research and dynamics of social networks.

PI: Jari Saramäki