Random walk centrality for temporal networks

Luis E.C. Rocha, Naoki Masuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Nodes can be ranked according to their relative importance within a network. Ranking algorithms based on random walks are particularly useful because they connect topological and diffusive properties of the network. Previous methods based on random walks, for example the PageRank, have focused on static structures. However, several realistic networks are indeed dynamic, meaning that their structure changes in time. In this paper, we propose a centrality measure for temporal networks based on random walks under periodic boundary conditions that we call TempoRank. It is known that, in static networks, the stationary density of the random walk is proportional to the degree or the strength of a node. In contrast, we find that, in temporal networks, the stationary density is proportional to the in-strength of the so-called effective network, a weighted and directed network explicitly constructed from the original sequence of transition matrices. The stationary density also depends on the sojourn probability q, which regulates the tendency of the walker to stay in the node, and on the temporal resolution of the data. We apply our method to human interaction networks and show that although it is important for a node to be connected to another node with many random walkers (one of the principles of the PageRank) at the right moment, this effect is negligible in practice when the time order of link activation is included.

Original languageEnglish
Article number063023
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • TempoRank
  • network analysis
  • network centrality
  • random walks
  • stationary state
  • temporal networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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