Large Human Communication Networks: Patterns and a Utility-Driven Generator

author: Nan Du, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology
published: Sept. 14, 2009,   recorded: July 2009,   views: 2945

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Given a real, and weighted person-to-person network which changes over time, what can we say about the cliques that it contains? Do the incidents of communication, or weights on the edges of a clique follow any pattern? Real, and in-person social networks have many more triangles than chance would dictate. As it turns out, there are many more cliques than one would expect, in surprising patterns.

In this paper, we study massive real-world social networks formed by direct contacts among people through various personal communication services, such as Phone-Call, SMS, IM etc. The contributions are the following: (a) we discover surprising patterns with the cliques, (b) we report power-laws of the weights on the edges of cliques, (c) our real networks follow these patterns such that we can trust them to spot outliers and finally, (d) we propose the first utility-driven graph generator for weighted time-evolving networks, which match the observed patterns. Our study focused on three large datasets, each of which is a different type of communication service, with over one million records, and spans several months of activity.

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