Clustering for epidemics on networks: A geometric approach

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Infectious diseases typically spread over a contact network with millions of individuals, whose sheer size is a tremendous challenge to analyzing and controlling an epidemic outbreak. For some contact networks, it is possible to group individuals into clusters. A high-level description of the epidemic between a few clusters is considerably simpler than on an individual level. However, to cluster individuals, most studies rely on equitable partitions, a rather restrictive structural property of the contact network. In this work, we focus on Susceptible-Infected-Susceptible (SIS) epidemics, and our contribution is threefold. First, we propose a geometric approach to specify all networks for which an epidemic outbreak simplifies to the interaction of only a few clusters. Second, for the complete graph and any initial viral state vectors, we derive the closed-form solution of the nonlinear differential equations of the N-intertwined mean-field approximation of the SIS process. Third, by relaxing the notion of equitable partitions, we derive low-complexity approximations and bounds for epidemics on arbitrary contact networks. Our results are an important step toward understanding and controlling epidemics on large networks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number063115
Number of pages25
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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