Social Bubbles and Superspreaders: Source Identification for Contagion Processes on Hypertrees

Coordinated Science Laboratory and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA. Paper PDF.


Previous work has shown that for contagion processes on ex-tended star networks (trees with exactly one node of degree >2), there is a simple, closed-form expression for a highly accurate approximation to the maximum likelihood infection source. Here, we generalize that result to a class of hyper-trees which, although somewhat structurally analogous, provides a much richer representation space. In particular, this approach can be used to estimate patient zero sources, even when the infection has been propagated via large group gatherings rather than person-to-person spread, and when it is spreading through interrelated social bubbles with varying degrees of overlap. In contact tracing contexts, this estimator may be used to identify the source of a local outbreak, which can then be used for forward tracing or for further backward tracing (by similar or other means) to an upstream source.

Index Terms

  • Infection source identification
  • SI model
  • hypergraph
  • maximum likelihood
  • contagion
  • superspreader

Social Bubbles and Superspreaders PDF HERE.

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