Mutualistic communities have an internal structure that makes them resilient to external perturbations. Late research has focused on their stability and the topology of the relations between the different organisms to explain the reasons of the system robustness. Much less attention has been invested in analyzing the systems dynamics. The main population models in use are modifications of the r-K formulation of logistic equation with additional terms to account for the benefits produced by the interspecific interactions. These models have shortcomings as the so-called r-K formulation diverges under some conditions. In this work, we introduce a model for population dynamics under mutualism that preserves the original logistic formulation. It is mathematically simpler than the widely used type II models, although it shows similar complexity in terms of fixed points and stability of the dynamics. We perform an analytical stability analysis and numerical simulations to study the model behavior in general interaction scenarios including tests of the resilience of its dynamics under external perturbations. Despite its simplicity, our results indicate that the model dynamics shows an important richness that can be used to gain further insights in the dynamics of mutualistic communities.
The interplay of social and strategic motivations in human interactions is a largely unexplored topic in collective social phenomena. Whether individuals' decisions are taken in a purely strategic basis or due to social pressure without a rational background crucially influences the model outcome. Here we study a networked Prisoner's Dilemma in which decisions are made either based on the replication of the most successful neighbor's strategy (unconditional imitation) or by pure social imitation following an update rule inspired by the voter model. The main effects of the voter dynamics are an enhancement of the final consensus, i.e., asymptotic states are generally uniform, and a promotion of cooperation in certain regions of the parameter space as compared to the outcome of purely strategic updates. Thus, voter dynamics acts as an interface noise and has a similar effect as a pure random noise; furthermore, its influence is mostly independent of the network heterogeneity. When strategic decisions are made following other update rules such as the replicator or Moran processes, the dynamic mixed state found under unconditional imitation for some parameters disappears, but an increase of cooperation in certain parameter regions is still observed. Comparing our results with recent experiments on the Prisoner's Dilemma, we conclude that such a mixed dynamics may explain moody conditional cooperation among the agents.
The pervasiveness of mobile devices, which is increasing daily, is generating a vast amount of geo-located data allowing us to gain further insights into human behaviors. In particular, this new technology enables users to communicate through mobile social media applications, such as Twitter, anytime and anywhere. Thus, geo-located tweets offer the possibility to carry out in-depth studies on human mobility. In this paper, we study the use of Twitter in transportation by identifying tweets posted from roads and rails in Europe between September 2012 and November 2013. We compute the percentage of highway and railway segments covered by tweets in 39 countries. The coverages are very different from country to country and their variability can be partially explained by differences in Twitter penetration rates. Still, some of these differences might be related to cultural factors regarding mobility habits and interacting socially online. Analyzing particular road sectors, our results show a positive correlation between the number of tweets on the road and the Average Annual Daily Traffic on highways in France and in the UK. Transport modality can be studied with these data as well, for which we discover very heterogeneous usage patterns across the continent.
The pervasive use of new mobile devices has allowed a better characterization in space and time of human concentrations and mobility in general. Besides its theoretical interest, describing mobility is of great importance for a number of practical applications ranging from the forecast of disease spreading to the design of new spaces in urban environments. While classical data sources, such as surveys or census, have a limited level of geographical resolution (e.g., districts, municipalities, counties are typically used) or are restricted to generic workdays or weekends, the data coming from mobile devices can be precisely located both in time and space. Most previous works have used a single data source to study human mobility patterns. Here we perform instead a cross-check analysis by comparing results obtained with data collected from three different sources: Twitter, census, and cell phones. The analysis is focused on the urban areas of Barcelona and Madrid, for which data of the three types is available. We assess the correlation between the datasets on different aspects: the spatial distribution of people concentration, the temporal evolution of people density, and the mobility patterns of individuals. Our results show that the three data sources are providing comparable information. Even though the representativeness of Twitter geolocated data is lower than that of mobile phone and census data, the correlations between the population density profiles and mobility patterns detected by the three datasets are close to one in a grid with cells of 2×2 and 1×1 square kilometers. This level of correlation supports the feasibility of interchanging the three data sources at the spatio-temporal scales considered.
The voter model has been studied extensively as a paradigmatic opinion dynamics model. However, its ability to model real opinion dynamics has not been addressed. We introduce a noisy voter model (accounting for social influence) with recurrent mobility of agents (as a proxy for social context), where the spatial and population diversity are taken as inputs to the model. We show that the dynamics can be described as a noisy diffusive process that contains the proper anisotropic coupling topology given by population and mobility heterogeneity. The model captures statistical features of U.S. presidential elections as the stationary vote-share fluctuations across counties and the long-range spatial correlations that decay logarithmically with the distance. Furthermore, it recovers the behavior of these properties when the geographical space is coarse grained at different scales-from the county level through congressional districts, and up to states. Finally, we analyze the role of the mobility range and the randomness in decision making, which are consistent with the empirical observations.
Pervasive infrastructures, such as cell phone networks, enable to capture large amounts of human behavioral data but also provide information about the structure of cities and their dynamical properties. In this article, we focus on these last aspects by studying phone data recorded during 55 days in 31 Spanish cities. We first define an urban dilatation index which measures how the average distance between individuals evolves during the day, allowing us to highlight different types of city structure. We then focus on hotspots, the most crowded places in the city. We propose a parameter free method to detect them and to test the robustness of our results. The number of these hotspots scales sublinearly with the population size, a result in agreement with previous theoretical arguments and measures on employment datasets. We study the lifetime of these hotspots and show in particular that the hierarchy of permanent ones, which constitute the 'heart' of the city, is very stable whatever the size of the city. The spatial structure of these hotspots is also of interest and allows us to distinguish different categories of cities, from monocentric and "segregated" where the spatial distribution is very dependent on land use, to polycentric where the spatial mixing between land uses is much more important. These results point towards the possibility of a new, quantitative classification of cities using high resolution spatio-temporal data.
Determining the pandemic potential of an emerging infectious disease and how it depends on the various epidemic and population aspects is critical for the preparation of an adequate response aimed at its control. The complex interplay between population movements in space and non-homogeneous mixing patterns have so far hindered the fundamental understanding of the conditions for spatial invasion through a general theoretical framework. To address this issue, we present an analytical modelling approach taking into account such interplay under general conditions of mobility and interactions, in the simplifying assumption of two population classes.
Daily interactions naturally define social circles. Individuals tend to be friends with the people they spend time with and they choose to spend time with their friends, inextricably entangling physical location and social relationships. As a result, it is possible to predict not only someone's location from their friends' locations but also friendship from spatial and temporal co-occurrence. While several models have been developed to separately describe mobility and the evolution of social networks, there is a lack of studies coupling social interactions and mobility. In this work, we introduce a model that bridges this gap by explicitly considering the feedback of mobility on the formation of social ties. Data coming from three online social networks (Twitter, Gowalla and Brightkite) is used for validation. Our model reproduces various topological and physical properties of the networks not captured by models uncoupling mobility and social interactions such as: i) the total size of the connected components, ii) the distance distribution between connected users, iii) the dependence of the reciprocity on the distance, iv) the variation of the social overlap and the clustering with the distance. Besides numerical simulations, a mean-field approach is also used to study analytically the main statistical features of the networks generated by a simplified version of our model. The robustness of the results to changes in the model parameters is explored, finding that a balance between friend visits and long-range random connections is essential to reproduce the geographical features of the empirical networks.
Neuroimage experiments have been essential for identifying active brain networks. During cognitive tasks as in, e.g., aesthetic appreciation, such networks include regions that belong to the default mode network (DMN). Theoretically, DMN activity should be interrupted during cognitive tasks demanding attention, as is the case for aesthetic appreciation. Analyzing the functional connectivity dynamics along three temporal windows and two conditions, beautiful and not beautiful stimuli, here we report experimental support for the hypothesis that aesthetic appreciation relies on the activation of two different networks, an initial aesthetic network and a delayed aesthetic network, engaged within distinct time frames. Activation of the DMN might correspond mainly to the delayed aesthetic network. We discuss adaptive and evolutionary explanations for the relationships existing between the DMN and aesthetic networks and offer unique inputs to debates on the mind/brain interaction.
Technologically driven transport systems are characterized by a networked structure connecting operation centers and by a dynamics ruled by pre-established schedules. Schedules impose serious constraints on the timing of the operations, condition the allocation of resources and define a baseline to assess system performance. Here we study the performance of an air transportation system in terms of delays. Technical, operational or meteorological issues affecting some flights give rise to primary delays. When operations continue, such delays can propagate, magnify and eventually involve a significant part of the network. We define metrics able to quantify the level of network congestion and introduce a model that reproduces the delay propagation patterns observed in the U.S. performance data. Our results indicate that there is a non-negligible risk of systemic instability even under normal operating conditions. We also identify passenger and crew connectivity as the most relevant internal factor contributing to delay spreading.
Community structure is one of the main structural features of networks, revealing both their internal organization and the similarity of their elementary units. Despite the large variety of methods proposed to detect communities in graphs, there is a big need for multi-purpose techniques, able to handle different types of datasets and the subtleties of community structure. In this paper we present OSLOM (Order Statistics Local Optimization Method), the first method capable to detect clusters in networks accounting for edge directions, edge weights, overlapping communities, hierarchies and community dynamics. It is based on the local optimization of a fitness function expressing the statistical significance of clusters with respect to random fluctuations, which is estimated with tools of Extreme and Order Statistics. OSLOM can be used alone or as a refinement procedure of partitions/covers delivered by other techniques. We have also implemented sequential algorithms combining OSLOM with other fast techniques, so that the community structure of very large networks can be uncovered. Our method has a comparable performance as the best existing algorithms on artificial benchmark graphs. Several applications on real networks are shown as well. OSLOM is implemented in a freely available software (http://www.oslom.org), and we believe it will be a valuable tool in the analysis of networks.
After the emergence of the H1N1 influenza in 2009, some countries responded with travel-related controls during the early stage of the outbreak in an attempt to contain or slow down its international spread. These controls along with self-imposed travel limitations contributed to a decline of about 40% in international air traffic to/from Mexico following the international alert. However, no containment was achieved by such restrictions and the virus was able to reach pandemic proportions in a short time. When gauging the value and efficacy of mobility and travel restrictions it is crucial to rely on epidemic models that integrate the wide range of features characterizing human mobility and the many options available to public health organizations for responding to a pandemic. Here we present a comprehensive computational and theoretical study of the role of travel restrictions in halting and delaying pandemics by using a model that explicitly integrates air travel and short-range mobility data with high-resolution demographic data across the world and that is validated by the accumulation of data from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. We explore alternative scenarios for the 2009 H1N1 pandemic by assessing the potential impact of mobility restrictions that vary with respect to their magnitude and their position in the pandemic timeline. We provide a quantitative discussion of the delay obtained by different mobility restrictions and the likelihood of containing outbreaks of infectious diseases at their source, confirming the limited value and feasibility of international travel restrictions. These results are rationalized in the theoretical framework characterizing the invasion dynamics of the epidemics at the metapopulation level.
Many systems in nature, society, and technology can be described as networks, where the vertices are the systems elements, and edges between vertices indicate the interactions between the corresponding elements. Edges may be weighted if the interaction strength is measurable. However, the full network information is often redundant because tools and techniques from network analysis do not work or become very inefficient if the network is too dense, and some weights may just reflect measurement errors and need to be be discarded. Moreover, since weight distributions in many complex weighted networks are broad, most of the weight is concentrated among a small fraction of all edges. It is then crucial to properly detect relevant edges. Simple thresholding would leave only the largest weights, disrupting the multiscale structure of the system, which is at the basis of the structure of complex networks and ought to be kept. In this paper we propose a weight-filtering technique based on a global null model [Global Statistical Significance (GloSS) filter], keeping both the weight distribution and the full topological structure of the network. The method correctly quantifies the statistical significance of weights assigned independently to the edges from a given distribution. Applications to real networks reveal that the GloSS filter is indeed able to identify relevant connections between vertices.
In recent years large-scale computational models for the realistic simulation of epidemic outbreaks have been used with increased frequency. Methodologies adapt to the scale of interest and range from very detailed agent-based models to spatially-structured metapopulation models. One major issue thus concerns to what extent the geotemporal spreading pattern found by different modeling approaches may differ and depend on the different approximations and assumptions used.
We propose a protocol optimization technique that is applicable to both weighted and unweighted graphs. Our aim is to explore by how much a small variation around the shortest-path or optimal-path protocols can enhance protocol performance. Such an optimization strategy can be necessary because even though some protocols can achieve very high traffic tolerance levels, this is commonly done by enlarging the path lengths, which may jeopardize scalability. We use ideas borrowed from extremal optimization to guide our algorithm, which proves to be an effective technique. Our method exploits the degeneracy of the paths or their close-weight alternatives, which significantly improves the scalability of the protocols in comparison to shortest-path or optimal-path protocols, keeping at the same time almost intact the length or weight of the paths. This characteristic ensures that the optimized routing protocols are composed of paths that are quick to traverse, avoiding negative effects in data communication due to path-length increases that can become specially relevant when information losses are present.
Here we present the Global Epidemic and Mobility (GLEaM) model that integrates sociodemographic and population mobility data in a spatially structured stochastic disease approach to simulate the spread of epidemics at the worldwide scale. We discuss the flexible structure of the model that is open to the inclusion of different disease structures and local intervention policies. This makes GLEaM suitable for the computational modeling and anticipation of the spatio-temporal patterns of global epidemic spreading, the understanding of historical epidemics, the assessment of the role of human mobility in shaping global epidemics, and the analysis of mitigation and containment scenarios.
Communities are clusters of nodes with a higher than average density of internal connections. Their detection is of great relevance to better understand the structure and hierarchies present in a network. Modularity has become a standard tool in the area of community detection, providing at the same time a way to evaluate partitions and, by maximizing it, a method to find communities. In this work, we study the modularity from a combinatorial point of view. Our analysis (as the modularity definition) relies on the use of the configurational model, a technique that given a graph produces a series of randomized copies keeping the degree sequence invariant. We develop an approach that enumerates the null model partitions and can be used to calculate the probability distribution function of the modularity. Our theory allows for a deep inquiry of several interesting features characterizing modularity such as its resolution limit and the statistics of the partitions that maximize it. Additionally, the study of the probability of extremes of the modularity in the random graph partitions opens the way for a definition of the statistical significance of network partitions.
Nodes in real-world networks are usually organized in local modules. These groups, called communities, are intuitively defined as subgraphs with a larger density of internal connections than of external links. In this work, we define a measure aimed at quantifying the statistical significance of single communities. Extreme and order statistics are used to predict the statistics associated with individual clusters in random graphs. These distributions allows us to define one community significance as the probability that a generic clustering algorithm finds such a group in a random graph. The method is successfully applied in the case of real-world networks for the evaluation of the significance of their communities.
Among the realistic ingredients to be considered in the computational modeling of infectious diseases, human mobility represents a crucial challenge both on the theoretical side and in view of the limited availability of empirical data. To study the interplay between short-scale commuting flows and long-range airline traffic in shaping the spatiotemporal pattern of a global epidemic we (i) analyze mobility data from 29 countries around the world and find a gravity model able to provide a global description of commuting patterns up to 300 kms and (ii) integrate in a worldwide-structured metapopulation epidemic model a timescale-separation technique for evaluating the force of infection due to multiscale mobility processes in the disease dynamics. Commuting flows are found, on average, to be one order of magnitude larger than airline flows. However, their introduction into the worldwide model shows that the large-scale pattern of the simulated epidemic exhibits only small variations with respect to the baseline case where only airline traffic is considered. The presence of short-range mobility increases, however, the synchronization of subpopulations in close proximity and affects the epidemic behavior at the periphery of the airline transportation infrastructure. The present approach outlines the possibility for the definition of layered computational approaches where different modeling assumptions and granularities can be used consistently in a unifying multiscale framework.
While the H1N1 pandemic is reaching high levels of influenza activity in the Northern Hemisphere, the attention focuses on the ability of national health systems to respond to the expected massive influx of additional patients. Given the limited capacity of health care providers and hospitals and the limited supplies of antibiotics, it is important to predict the potential demand on critical care to assist planning for the management of resources and plan for additional stockpiling. We develop a disease model that considers the development of influenza-associated complications and incorporate it into a global epidemic model to assess the expected surge in critical care demands due to viral and bacterial pneumonia. Based on the most recent estimates of complication rates, we predict the expected peak number of intensive care unit beds and the stockpile of antibiotic courses needed for the current pandemic wave. The effects of dynamic vaccination campaigns, and of variations of the relative proportion of bacterial co-infection in complications and different length of staying in the intensive care unit are explored.
Determining the number of cases in an epidemic is fundamental to properly evaluate several disease features of high relevance for public health policies such as mortality, morbidity or hospitalization rates. Surveillance efforts are however incomplete especially at the early stage of an outbreak due to the ongoing learning process about the disease characteristics. An example of this is represented by the number of H1N1 influenza cases in Mexico during the first months of the current pandemic. Several estimates using backtrack calculation based on imported cases from Mexico in other countries point out that the actual number of cases was likely orders of magnitude larger than the number of confirmed cases. Realistic computational models fed with the best available estimates of the basic disease parameters can provide an ab-initio calculation of the number of cases in Mexico as other countries. Here we use the Global Epidemic and Mobility (GLEaM) model to obtain estimates of the size of the epidemic in Mexico as well as of imported cases at the end of April and beginning of May. We find that the reference range for the number of cases in Mexico on April 30th is 121,000 to 1,394,000 in good agreement with the recent estimates by Lipsitch et al. [M. Lipsitch, PloS One 4:e6895 (2009)]. The number of imported cases from Mexico in several countries is found to be in good agreement with the surveillance data.
On 11 June the World Health Organization officially raised the phase of pandemic alert (with regard to the new H1N1 influenza strain) to level 6. As of 19 July, 137,232 cases of the H1N1 influenza strain have been officially confirmed in 142 different countries, and the pandemic unfolding in the Southern hemisphere is now under scrutiny to gain insights about the next winter wave in the Northern hemisphere. A major challenge is pre-emptied by the need to estimate the transmission potential of the virus and to assess its dependence on seasonality aspects in order to be able to use numerical models capable of projecting the spatiotemporal pattern of the pandemic.
Complex networks have acquired a great popularity in recent years, since the graph representation of many natural, social, and technological systems is often very helpful to characterize and model their phenomenology. Additionally, the mathematical tools of statistical physics have proven to be particularly suitable for studying and understanding complex networks. Nevertheless, an important obstacle to this theoretical approach is still represented by the difficulties to draw parallelisms between network science and more traditional aspects of statistical physics. In this paper, we explore the relation between complex networks and a well known topic of statistical physics: renormalization. A general method to analyze renormalization flows of complex networks is introduced. The method can be applied to study any suitable renormalization transformation. Finite-size scaling can be performed on computer-generated networks in order to classify them in universality classes. We also present applications of the method on real networks.
Mathematical and computational models for infectious diseases are increasingly used to support public-health decisions; however, their reliability is currently under debate. Real-time forecasts of epidemic spread using data-driven models have been hindered by the technical challenges posed by parameter estimation and validation. Data gathered for the 2009 H1N1 influenza crisis represent an unprecedented opportunity to validate real-time model predictions and define the main success criteria for different approaches.
Under certain circumstances such as lack of information or bounded rationality, human players can take decisions on which strategy to choose in a game on the basis of simple opinions. These opinions can be modified after each round by observing own or others payoff results but can be also modified after interchanging impressions with other players. In this way, the update of the strategies can become a question that goes beyond simple evolutionary rules based on fitness and become a social issue. In this work, we explore this scenario by coupling a game with an opinion dynamics model. The opinion is represented by a continuous variable that corresponds to the certainty of the agents respect to which strategy is best. The opinions transform into actions by making the selection of an strategy a stochastic event with a probability regulated by the opinion. A certain regard for the previous round payoff is included but the main update rules of the opinion are given by a model inspired in social interchanges. We find that the fixed points of the dynamics of the coupled model are different from those of the evolutionary game or the opinion models alone. Furthermore, new features emerge such as the independence of the fraction of cooperators with respect to the topology of the social interaction network or the presence of a small fraction of extremist players.
Humans do not always make rational choices, a fact that experimental economics is putting on solid grounds. The social context plays an important role in determining our actions, and often we imitate friends or acquaintances without any strategic consideration. We explore here the interplay between strategic and social imitative behavior in a coordination problem on a social network. We observe that for interactions on 1D and 2D lattices any amount of social imitation prevents the freezing of the network in domains with different conventions, thus leading to global consensus. For interactions on complex networks, the interplay of social and strategic imitation also drives the system towards global consensus while neither dynamics alone does. We find an optimum value for the combination of imitative behaviors to reach consensus in a minimum time, and two different dynamical regimes to approach it: exponential when social imitation predominates, power-law when strategic considerations prevail.
An increasing fraction of todays social interactions occur using online social media as communication channels. Recent worldwide events, such as social movements in Spain or revolts in the Middle East, highlight their capacity to boost peoples coordination. Online networks display in general a rich internal structure where users can choose among different types and intensity of interactions. Despite this, there are still open questions regarding the social value of online interactions. For example, the existence of users with millions of online friends sheds doubts on the relevance of these relations. In this work, we focus on Twitter, one of the most popular online social networks, and find that the network formed by the basic type of connections is organized in groups. The activity of the users conforms to the landscape determined by such groups. Furthermore, Twitters distinction between different types of interactions allows us to establish a parallelism between online and offline social networks: personal interactions are more likely to occur on internal links to the groups (the weakness of strong ties); events transmitting new information go preferentially through links connecting different groups (the strength of weak ties) or even more through links connecting to users belonging to several groups that act as brokers (the strength of intermediary ties).
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