Memory Based Temporal Network Prediction

Li Zou, An Wang, Huijuan Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Temporal networks are networks like physical contact networks whose topology changes over time. Predicting future temporal network is crucial e.g., to forecast and mitigate the spread of epidemics and misinformation on the network. Most existing methods for temporal network prediction are based on machine learning algorithms, at the expense of high computational costs and limited interpretation of the underlying mechanisms that form the networks. This motivates us to develop network-based models to predict the temporal network at the next time step based on the network observed in the past. Firstly, we investigate temporal network properties to motivate our network prediction models and to explain how the performance of these models depends on the temporal networks. We explore the similarity between the network topology (snapshot) at any two time steps with a given time lag/interval. We find that the similarity is relatively high when the time lag is small and decreases as the time lag increases. Inspired by such time-decaying memory of temporal networks and recent advances, we propose two models that predict a link’s future activity (i.e., connected or not), based on the past activities of the link itself or also of neighboring links, respectively. Via seven real-world physical contact networks, we find that our models outperform in both prediction quality and computational complexity, and predict better in networks that have a stronger memory. Beyond, our model also reveals how different types of neighboring links contribute to the prediction of a given link’s future activity, again depending on properties of temporal networks.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComplex Networks and Their Applications XI - Proceedings of The 11th International Conference on Complex Networks and Their Applications
Subtitle of host publicationCOMPLEX NETWORKS 2022—Volume 2
EditorsHocine Cherifi, Rosario Nunzio Mantegna, Luis M. Rocha, Chantal Cherifi, Salvatore Micciche
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9783031211300
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event11th International Conference on Complex Networks and their Applications, COMPLEX NETWORKS 2022 - Palermo, Italy
Duration: 8 Nov 202210 Nov 2022

Publication series

NameStudies in Computational Intelligence
ISSN (Print)1860-949X
ISSN (Electronic)1860-9503


Conference11th International Conference on Complex Networks and their Applications, COMPLEX NETWORKS 2022

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Network-Based prediction
  • Temporal network prediction
  • Temporal network property


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