Unfolding Accessibility Provides a Macroscopic Approach to Temporal Networks
An accessibility graph of a network contains a link wherever there is a path of arbitrary length between two nodes. We generalize the concept of accessibility to temporal networks. Building an accessibility graph by consecutively adding paths of growing length (unfolding), we obtain information about the distribution of shortest path durations and characteristic time scales in temporal networks. Moreover, we define causal fidelity to measure the goodness of their static representation. The practicability of our proposed methods is demonstrated for three examples: networks of social contacts, livestock trade, and sexual contacts.