Centrality metrics in dynamic networks: a comparison study

Marwan Ghanem, Clémence Magnien and Fabien Tarissan

IEEE Transactions on network science and engineering, 2018

For a long time, researchers have worked on defining different metrics able to characterize the importance of nodes in static networks. Recently, researchers have introduced extensions that consider the dynamics of networks. These extensions study the time-evolution of the importance of nodes, which is an important question that has yet received little attention in the context of temporal networks. They follow different approaches for evaluating a node’s importance at a given time and the value of each approach remains difficult to assess. In order to study this question more in depth, we compare in this paper a method we recently introduced to three other existing methods. We use several datasets of different nature, and show and explain how these methods capture different notions of importance. We also show that in some cases it might be meaningless to try to identify nodes that are globally important. Finally, we highlight the role of inactive nodes, that still can be important as a relay for future communications.