Time Evolution of the Importance of Nodes in dynamic Networks

Clémence Magnien and Fabien Tarissan.

In proceedings of the International Symposium on Foundations and Applications of Big Data Analytics (FAB), in conjunction with ASONAM, 2015.

For a long time now, researchers have worked on defining different metrics able to characterize the importance of nodes in networks. Among them, centrality measures have proved to be pertinent as they relate the position of a node in the structure to its ability to diffuse an information efficiently. The case of dynamic networks, in which nodes and links appear and disappear over time, led the community to propose extensions of those classical measures. Yet, they do not investigate the fact that the network structure evolves and that node importance may evolve accordingly. In the present paper, we propose temporal extensions of notions of centrality, which take into account the paths existing at any given time, in order to study the time evolution of nodes’ importance in dynamic networks. We apply this to two datasets and show that the importance of nodes does indeed vary greatly with time. We also show that in some cases it might be meaningless to try to identify nodes that are consistently important over time, thus strengthening the interest of temporal extensions of centrality measures.