Metapopulation models imply non-Poissonian statistics of interevent times

Elohim Fonseca Dos Reis, Naoki Masuda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interevent times in temporal contact data from humans and animals typically obey heavy-tailed distributions, which impacts contagion and other dynamical processes on networks. We theoretically show that distributions of interevent times heavier-tailed than exponential distributions are a consequence of the most basic metapopulation model used in epidemiology and ecology, in which individuals move from one patch to another according to the simple random walk. Our results hold true irrespective of the network structure and also for more realistic mobility rules such as high-order random walks and the recurrent mobility patterns used for modeling human dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number013050
JournalPhysical Review Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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