Spreading dynamics in complex networks

Sen Pei, Hernan A. Makse

Searching for influential spreaders in complex networks is an issue of great significance for applications across various domains, ranging from the epidemic control, innovation diffusion, viral marketing, social movement to idea propagation. In this paper, we first display some of the most important theoretical models that describe spreading processes, and then discuss the problem of locating both the individual and multiple influential spreaders respectively. Recent approaches in these two topics are presented. For the identification of privileged single spreaders, we summarize several widely used centralities, such as degree, betweenness centrality, PageRank, k-shell, etc. We investigate the empirical diffusion data in a large scale online social community -- LiveJournal. With this extensive dataset, we find that various measures can convey very distinct information of nodes. Of all the users in LiveJournal social network, only a small fraction of them involve in spreading. For the spreading processes in LiveJournal, while degree can locate nodes participating in information diffusion with higher probability, k-shell is more effective in finding nodes with large influence. Our results should provide useful information for designing efficient spreading strategies in reality.

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