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Temporal Changes in Local Topology of an Email-Based Social Network

Krzysztof Juszczyszyn, Katarzyna Musiał, Przemyslaw Kazienko, Bogdan Gabrys


The dynamics of complex social networks has become one of the research areas of growing importance. The knowledge about temporal changes of the network topology and characteristics is crucial in networked communication systems in which accurate predictions are important. The local network topology can be described by the means of network motifs which are small subgraphs -- usually containing from 3 to 7 nodes. They were shown to be useful for creating profiles that reveal several properties of the network. In this paper, the time-varying characteristics of social networks, such as the number of nodes and edges as well as clustering coefficients and different centrality measures are investigated. At the same time, the analysis of three-node motifs (triads) was used to track the temporal changes in the structure of a large social network derived from e-mail communication between university employees. We have shown that temporal changes in local connection patterns of the social network are indeed correlated with the changes in the clustering coefficient as well as various centrality measures values and are detectable by means of motifs analysis. Together with robust sampling network motifs can provide an appealing way to monitor and assess temporal changes in large social networks.

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