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Temporal networks: slowing down diffusion by long lasting interactions

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.111.188701

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Interactions among units in complex systems occur in a specific sequential order thus affecting the flow of information, the propagation of diseases, and general dynamical processes. We investigate the Laplacian spectrum of temporal networks and compare it with that of the corresponding aggregate network. First, we show that the spectrum of the ensemble average of a temporal network has identical eigenmodes but smaller eigenvalues than the aggregate networks. In large networks without edge condensation, the expected temporal dynamics is a time-rescaled version of the aggregate dynamics. Even for single sequential realizations, diffusive dynamics is slower in temporal networks. These discrepancies are due to the noncommutability of interactions. We illustrate our analytical findings using a simple temporal motif, larger network models and real temporal networks.


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