Temporal social network reconstruction using wireless proximity sensors: model selection and consequences
Univ. Lyon, ENS de Lyon, Inria, CNRS, UCB Lyon 1, LIP UMR 5668, IXXI, F-69342, Lyon, France
2 School of Computer Science and Software Engineering, East China Normal University, 3663 N. Zhongshan Rd., 200062, Shanghai, P.R. China
3 Univ. Grenoble Alpes, LIDILEM, F-38000, Grenoble, France
4 Inria, F-75012, Paris, France
5 Department of Network and Data Science, Central European University, Nádor u. 9, 1051, Budapest, Hungary
* e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 21 June 2020
Published online: 8 July 2020
The emerging technologies of wearable wireless devices open entirely new ways to record various aspects of human social interactions in a broad range of settings. Such technologies allow to log the temporal dynamics of face-to-face interactions by detecting the physical proximity of participants. However, despite the wide usage of this technology and the collected datasets, precise reconstruction methods transforming the raw recorded communication data packets to social interactions are still missing.
In this study we analyse a proximity dataset collected during a longitudinal social experiment aiming to understand the co-evolution of children’s language development and social network. Physical proximity and verbal communication of hundreds of pre-school children and their teachers are recorded over three years using autonomous wearable low power wireless devices. The dataset is accompanied with three annotated ground truth datasets, which record the time, distance, relative orientation, and interaction state of interacting children for validation purposes.
We use this dataset to explore several pipelines of dynamical event reconstruction including earlier applied naïve approaches, methods based on Hidden Markov Model, or on Long Short-Term Memory models, some of them combined with supervised pre-classification of interaction packets. We find that while naïve models propose the worst reconstruction, Long Short-Term Memory models provide the most precise way to reconstruct real interactions up to accuracy. Finally, we simulate information spreading on the reconstructed networks obtained by the different methods. Results indicate that small improvement of network reconstruction accuracy may lead to significantly different spreading dynamics, while sometimes large differences in accuracy have no obvious effects on the dynamics. This not only demonstrates the importance of precise network reconstruction but also the careful choice of the reconstruction method in relation with the data collected. Missing this initial step in any study may seriously mislead conclusions made about the emerging properties of the observed network or any dynamical process simulated on it.
Key words: Physical proximity networks / Temporal network reconstruction / Supervised learning / Data driven modelling of spreading processes
© The Author(s), 2020