Finding remarkably dense sequences of contacts in link streams

Noé Gaumont, Clémence Magnien and Matthieu Latapy

In Social Network Analysis and Mining (2016) 6: 87. doi:10.1007/s13278-016-0396-z

A link stream is a set of quadruplets (b, e, u, v) meaning that a link exists between u and v from time b to time e. Link streams model many real-world situations like contacts between individuals, connections between devices, and others. Much work is currently devoted to the generalization of classical graph and network concepts to link streams. We argue that the density is a valuable notion for understanding and characterizing links streams. We propose a method to capture specific groups of links that are structurally and temporally densely connected and show that they are meaningful for the description of link streams. To find such groups, we use classical graph community detection algorithms, and we assess obtained groups. We apply our method to several real-world contact traces (captured by sensors) and demonstrate the relevance of the obtained structures.