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Abstract: Many complex human and natural phenomena can usefully be represented asnetworks describing the relationships between individuals. While theserelationships are typically intermittent, previous research has used networkrepresentations that aggregate the relationships at discrete intervals.However, such an aggregation discards important temporal information, thusinhibiting our understanding of the networks dynamic behaviour and evolution.We have recorded patterns of human urban encounter using Bluetooth technologythus retaining the temporal properties of this network. Here we show how thistemporal information influences the structural properties of the network. Weshow that the temporal properties of human urban encounter are scale-free,leading to an overwhelming proportion of brief encounters between individuals.While previous research has shown preferential attachment to result inscale-free connectivity in aggregated network data, we found that scale-freeconnectivity results from the temporal properties of the network. In addition,we show that brief encounters act as weak social ties in the diffusion ofnon-expiring information, yet persistent encounters provide the means forsustaining time-expiring information through a network.

Autor: Vassilis Kostakos, Eamonn O'Neill, Alan Penn


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