The European Physical Journal Special Topics

, Volume 222, Issue 6, pp 1295–1309 | Cite as

Empirical temporal networks of face-to-face human interactions

  • A. Barrat
  • C. Cattuto
  • V. Colizza
  • F. Gesualdo
  • L. Isella
  • E. Pandolfi
  • J. -F. Pinton
  • L. Ravà
  • C. Rizzo
  • M. Romano
  • J. Stehlé
  • A. E. Tozzi
  • W. Van den Broeck
Regular Article The Dynamics OF Networks: General Theory


The ever increasing adoption of mobile technologies and ubiquitous services allows to sense human behavior at unprecedented level of details and scale. Wearable sensors, in particular, open up a new window on human mobility and proximity in a variety of indoor environments. Here we review stylized facts on the structural and dynamical properties of empirical networks of human face-to-face proximity, measured in three different real-world contexts: an academic conference, a hospital ward, and a museum exhibition. First, we discuss the structure of the aggregated contact networks, that project out the detailed ordering of contact events while preserving temporal heterogeneities in their weights. We show that the structural properties of aggregated networks highlight important differences and unexpected similarities across contexts, and discuss the additional complexity that arises from attributes that are typically associated with nodes in real-world interaction networks, such as role classes in hospitals. We then consider the empirical data at the finest level of detail, i.e., we consider time-dependent networks of face-to-face proximity between individuals. To gain insights on the effects that causal constraints have on spreading processes, we simulate the dynamics of a simple susceptible-infected model over the empirical time-resolved contact data. We show that the spreading pathways for the epidemic process are strongly affected by the temporal structure of the network data, and that the mere knowledge of static aggregated networks leads to erroneous conclusions about the transmission paths on the corresponding dynamical networks.


European Physical Journal Special Topic Dynamical Network Spreading Process Contact Network Temporal Network 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    G. Chowell, J.M. Hyman, S. Eubank, C. Castillo-Chavez, Phys. Rev. E 68, 066102 (2003)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    A. De Montis, M. Barthélemy, A. Chessa, A. Vespignani, Environ. Plan. J. B 34, 905 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    D. Brockmann, L. Hufnagel, T. Geisel, Nature 439, 462 (2006)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    A. Barrat, M. Barthélemy, R. Pastor-Satorras, A. Vespignani, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101, 3747 (2004)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    D. Balcan, V. Colizza, B. Gon ccedil alves, H. Hu, J.J. Ramasco, A. Vespignani, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 106, 21484 (2009)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    M.C. González, C.A. Hidalgo, A.-L. Barabási, Nature 453, 779 (2008)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    C. Song, Z. Qu, N. Blumm, A.-L. Science 327, 1018 (2010)MathSciNetADSzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    J.-P. Eckmann, E. Moses, D. Sergi, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101, 14333 (2004)MathSciNetADSCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    G. Kossinets, D. Watts, Science 311, 88 (2006)MathSciNetADSCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    S. Golder, D. Wilkinson, B. Huberman, Communities and technologies 2007: proceedings of the Third Communities and Technologies Conference (Michigan State University, 2007)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    J. Leskovec, E. Horvitz, Proceeding of the 17th international conference on World Wide Web (ACM New York, NY, USA, 2008), p. 915Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    D. Rybski, S.V. Buldyrev, S. Havlin, F. Liljeros, H.A. Makse, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 106, 12640 (2009)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    R.D. Malmgren, D.B. Stouffer, A.S.L.O. Campanharo, L.A. Nunes Amaral, Science 325, 1696 (2009)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    P. Hui, A. Chaintreau, J. Scott, R. Gass, J. Crowcroft, C. Diot, Proceedings of the 2005 ACM SIGCOMM workshop on Delay-tolerant networking (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 2005), p. 244Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    N. Eagle, A. Pentland, Pers. Ubiquit. Comput. 10, 255 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    E. O’Neill, V. Kostakos, T. Kindberg, A. Fatah gen. Schieck, A. Penn, D. Stanton Fraser, T. Jones, Lect. Notes Comput. Sci. 4206, 315 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    A. Pentland, Honest Signals: How They Shape Our World (MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 2008)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    A. Clauset, N. Eagle, Persistence and periodicity in a dynamic proximity network, DIMACS Workshop on Computational Methods for Dynamic Interaction Networks, 2007Google Scholar
  19. 19.
  20. 20.
    C. Cattuto, W. Van den Broeck, A. Barrat, V. Colizza, J.-F. Pinton, A. Vespignani, PLoS ONE 5, e11596 (2010)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    H. Alani, M. Szomsor, C. Cattuto, W. Van den Broeck, G. Correndo, A. Barrat, Live Social Semantics, 8th International Semantic Web Conference ISWC2009, Lect. Notes Comput. Sci. 5823, 698 (2009) CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    W. Van den Broeck, C. Cattuto, A. Barrat, M. Szomsor, G. Correndo, H. Alani, The Live Social Semantics application: a platform for integrating face-to-face presence with on-line social networking, First International Workshop on Communication, Collaboration and Social Networking in Pervasive Computing Environments (PerCol 2010), Proceedings of the 8th Annual IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications, Mannheim, Germany (2010), p. 226Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Special issue of Science on Complex networks, systems, Science 325, 357 (2009)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    S.N. Dorogovtsev, J.F.F. Mendes, Evolution of Networks: From Biological Nets to the Internet and WWW (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2003)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    M.E.J. Newman, SIAM Rev. 45, 167 (2003)MathSciNetADSCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    R. Pastor-Satorras, A. Vespignani, Evolution and Structure of the Internet: A Statistical Physics Approach (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2004)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    G. Caldarelli, Scale-Free Networks (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    A. Barrat, M. Barthélemy, A. Vespignani, Dynamical Processes on Complex Networks (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2008)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    A. Wasserman, K. Faust, Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    D. Watts, Nature 445, 489 (2007)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    J.F. Padgett, C.K. Ansell, Am. J. Sociol. 98, 1259 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    M.J. Lubbers, J.L. Molina, J. Lerner, U. Brandes, J. Avila, C. McCarty, Social Networks 32, 91 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    P. Holme, C. Saramäki, Temporal networks [arXiv:1108.1780]Google Scholar
  34. 34.
  35. 35.
    L. Isella, J. Stehlé, A. Barrat, C. Cattuto, J.-F. Pinton, W. Van den Broeck, J. Theor. Biol. 271, 166 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
  37. 37.
  38. 38.
  39. 39.
    L. Isella, M. Romano, A. Barrat, C. Cattuto, V. Colizza, W. Van den Broeck, F. Gesualdo, E. Pandolfi, L. Ravà, C. Rizzo, A.E. Tozzi, PLoS ONE 6, e17144 (2011)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
  41. 41.
  42. 42.
    J.-P. Onnela, J. Saramäki, J. Hyvonen, G. Szabó, M. Argollo de Menezes, K. Kaski, A.-L. Barabási, J. Kertész, New J. Phys. 9, 179 (2007)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    R. Pastor-Satorras, A. Vespignani, Phys. Rev. Lett. 86, 3200 (2001)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    R. Anderson, R. May, Infectious Diseases of Humans: Dynamics and Control (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991)Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    V. Nicosia, J. Tang, M. Musolesi, G. Russo, C. Mascolo, V. Latora, Components in time-varying graphs [arXiv:1106.2134]Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    P. Bajardi, A. Barrat, F. Natale, L. Savini, V. Colizza, PLoS ONE 6, e19869 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    L. Kovanen, M. Karsai, K. Kaski, J. Kertész, J. Saramäki, J. Stat. Mech. P11005 (2011)Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    G. Kossinets, J. Kleinberg, D. Watts, The Structure of Information Pathways in a Social Communication Network, Proceedings of the 14th ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (2008)Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    J. Stehlé, N. Voirin, A. Barrat, C. Cattuto, V. Colizza, L. Isella, C. Régis, J.-F. Pinton, N. Khanafer, W. Van den Broeck, P. Vanhems, BMC Medicine 9, 87 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© EDP Sciences and Springer 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Barrat
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. Cattuto
    • 2
  • V. Colizza
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • F. Gesualdo
    • 6
  • L. Isella
    • 2
  • E. Pandolfi
    • 6
  • J. -F. Pinton
    • 7
  • L. Ravà
    • 6
  • C. Rizzo
    • 8
  • M. Romano
    • 6
  • J. Stehlé
    • 1
    • 9
  • A. E. Tozzi
    • 6
  • W. Van den Broeck
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre de Physique ThéoriqueAix-Marseille Univ., CNRS UMR 6207, Univ. Sud Toulon VarMarseille Cedex 9France
  2. 2.Data Science LaboratoryISI FoundationTorinoItaly
  3. 3.INSERMParisFrance
  4. 4.Faculté de Médecine Pierre et Marie Curie, UMR S 707UPMC Université Paris 06ParisFrance
  5. 5.Computational Epidemiology LaboratoryISI FoundationTorinoItaly
  6. 6.Epidemiology UnitBambino Gesú HospitalRomeItaly
  7. 7.Laboratoire de Physique de l’École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, CNRS UMR 5672LyonFrance
  8. 8.Istituto Superiore di Sanità RomeNational Centre for Epidemiology, Surveillance and Health PromotionRomeItaly
  9. 9.Centre de Recherche en Economie et StatistiqueENSAEMalakoffFrance

Personalised recommendations