Traffic-driven epidemic outbreak on complex networks: How long does it take?

Han Xin Yang, Wen Xu Wang, Ying-Cheng Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Recent studies have suggested the necessity to incorporate traffic dynamics into the process of epidemic spreading on complex networks, as the former provides support for the latter in many real-world situations. While there are results on the asymptotic scope of the spreading dynamics, the issue of how fast an epidemic outbreak can occur remains outstanding. We observe numerically that the density of the infected nodes exhibits an exponential increase with time initially, rendering definable a characteristic time for the outbreak. We then derive a formula for scale-free networks, which relates this time to parameters characterizing the traffic dynamics and the network structure such as packet-generation rate and betweenness distribution. The validity of the formula is tested numerically. Our study indicates that increasing the average degree and/or inducing traffic congestion can slow down the spreading process significantly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number043146
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 4 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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