Randomized reference models for temporal networks

Christian Lyngby Vestergaard

mercredi 18 décembre 2019 à 10h30, salle 24-25-405, Jussieu

Many dynamical systems can be successfully analyzed by representing them as networks. Empirically measured networks and dynamic processes that take place in these situations show heterogeneous, non-Markovian, and intrinsically correlated topologies and dynamics. This makes their analysis particularly challenging. Randomized reference models (RRMs) have emerged as a general and versatile toolbox for studying such systems. Defined as ensembles of random networks with given features constrained to match those of an input (empirical) network, they may for example be used to identify important features of empirical networks and their effects on dynamical processes unfolding in the network. RRMs are typically implemented as procedures that reshuffle an empirical network, making them very generally applicable. However, the effects of most shuffling procedures on network features remain poorly understood, rendering their use non-trivial and susceptible to misinterpretation. Here we propose a unified framework for classifying and understanding microcanonical RRMs (MRRMs). Focusing on temporal networks, we use this framework to build a taxonomy of MRRMs that proposes a canonical naming convention, classifies them, and deduces their effects on a range of important network features. We furthermore show that certain classes of compatible MRRMs may be applied in sequential composition to generate over a hundred new MRRMs from the existing ones surveyed in this article. We provide two tutorials showing applications of the MRRM framework to empirical temporal networks: 1) to analyze how different features of a network affect other features and 2) to analyze how such features affect a dynamic process in the network. We finally survey applications of MRRMs found in literature. Our taxonomy provides a reference for the use of MRRMs, and the theoretical foundations laid here may further serve as a base for the development of a principled and automatized way to generate and apply randomized reference models for the study of networked systems.