Backtracking and Mixing Rate of Diffusion on Uncorrelated Temporal Networks

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We consider the problem of diffusion on temporal networks, where the dynamics of each edge is modelled by an independent renewal process. Despite the apparent simplicity of the model, the trajectories of a random walker exhibit non-trivial properties. Here, we quantify the walker’s tendency to backtrack at each step (return where he/she comes from), as well as the resulting effect on the mixing rate of the process. As we show through empirical data, non-Poisson dynamics may significantly slow down diffusion due to backtracking, by a mechanism intrinsically different from the standard bus paradox and related temporal mechanisms. We conclude by discussing the implications of our work for the interpretation of results generated by null models of temporal networks.
Original languageEnglish
Article number542
Number of pages10
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2017


  • Random walks
  • Temporal networks


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