2017
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Network Science
Control
Human Dynamics

The Fundamental Advantages of Temporal Networks

Abstract

Most networked systems of scientific interest are characterized by temporal links, meaning the network’s structure changes over time. Link temporality has been shown to hinder many dynamical processes, from information spreading to accessibility, by disrupting network paths. Considering the ubiquity of temporal networks in nature, we ask: Are there any advantages of the networks’ temporality? We use an analytical framework to show that temporal networks can, compared to their static counterparts, reach controllability faster, demand orders of magnitude less control energy, and have control trajectories, that are considerably more compact than those characterizing static networks. Thus, temporality ensures a degree of flexibility that would be unattainable in static networks, enhancing our ability to control them.

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