Human Mobility


You can see a network that has a similar shape to a jellyfish.



mobile-phone call network

mobility patterns


Human Mobility | video commentary by Albert-László Barabási

The various visualizations presented here on the topic of human mobility are based on data collected by mobile-phone network providers and the analysis of tweets on Twitter. The works capture the spatial and temporal movement patterns of people and how these have changed due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also reveal the predictability of everyday human behavioral and communication patterns. As these mobility and communication networks also facilitate spreading, the works illustrate transmission patterns taken up by viruses and fake news.

The first scientific paper by BarabásiLab on mobility appeared on the front page of the journal Nature on June 5, 2008, under the title »Understanding Individual Human Mobility Patterns«. The research relied on data collected by a European mobile-phone company to record the physical locations and time histories of individual mobile-phone users. The »Mobility« visualizations show examples of individual movements over time, allowing geographic movements to be retraced by stringing together real-time locations. The data also shows the exceptional predictability of daily routines: through algorithmic analysis of the anonymized data sets, BarabásiLab could predict a person’s future location with 93 percent accuracy. The two »Rhythms« graphics trace the paths of two people who move around a large city with varying degrees of predictability. While one person visits about a dozen places, the other visits about a hundred. The space depicted is divided into a Voronoi grid that captures the reception areas of all the mobile-phone towers positioned there. These partitions illustrate the way space constrains human mobility. Traffic routes are not the only factor influencing our daily movement patterns; socio-economic existence is also shaped by invisible structures.

Two geographical maps showing coloured dots connected by yellow lines

Emergencies (2011)

    • Networks of stress

Fake News (2018 )

    • The spread of #Pizzagate

Albert-László Barabási, Mauro Martino, Nima Dehmami, Onur Varol, »Fake News«, 2018

Fake News | video commentary by Albert-László Barabási

My 21st Century (2020)

    • Breathing New York

Albert-László Barabási, Michael Danzinger, Alice Grishchenko, Ryan Qi Wang, »My 21st Century, Breathing New York«, 2020

My 21st Century | video commentary by Albert-László Barabási

Viruses (2009)

    • The Emergence of a Pandemic

Viruses | video commentary by Albert-László Barabási