Identifying the fastest spreaders in epidemics on a network helps to ensure an efficient spreading. By ranking the average spreading time for different spreaders, we show that the fastest spreader may change with the effective infection rate of a SIS epidemic process, which means that the time-dependent influence of a node is usually strongly coupled to the dynamic process and the underlying network. With increasing effective infection rate, we illustrate that the fastest spreader changes from the node with the largest degree to the node with the shortest flooding time. (The flooding time is the minimum time needed to reach all other nodes if the process is reduced to a flooding process.) Furthermore, by taking the local topology around the spreader and the average flooding time into account, we propose the spreading efficiency as a metric to quantify the efficiency of a spreader and identify the fastest spreader, which is adaptive to different infection rates in general networks.
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics