An algebraic approach to temporal network analysis based on temporal quantities
n a temporal network, the presence and activity of nodes and links can change through time. To describe temporal networks we introduce the notion of temporal quantities. We define the addition and multiplication of temporal quantities in a way that can be used for the definition of addition and multiplication of temporal networks. The corresponding algebraic structures are semirings. The usual approach to (data) analysis of temporal networks is to transform the network into a sequence of time slices—static networks corresponding to selected time intervals and analyze each of them using standard methods to produce a sequence of results. The approach proposed in this paper enables us to compute these results directly. We developed fast algorithms for the proposed operations. They are available as an open source Python library TQ (Temporal Quantities) and a program Ianus. The proposed approach enables us to treat as temporal quantities also other network characteristics such as degrees, connectivity components, centrality measures, Pathfinder skeleton, etc. To illustrate the developed tools we present some results from the analysis of Franzosi’s violence network and Corman’s Reuters terror news network.