Human Dynamics

The quantitative understanding of human dynamics is one of the most under-explored area of contemporary science. We are witnessing rapid changes, however, thanks to the emergence of detailed datasets that capture human behavior, which allow us to follow specific human actions in ultimate detail. Our interest in the subject is driven by a need for a general understanding of complex systems. Currently social systems offer some of the best mapped datasets on the dynamics of any complex system, when the action of each component (individual) can be followed in ultimate detail.

This webpage summarizes our attempts to understand the nature of time in complex systems. When do things happen in a complex system? When do we send an email, receive a phone call, and check out a book from the library? While traditional models have assumed that the timing of human actions is random, we are finding increasing evidence that they are not. Instead, the statistics of human activity patterns have a bursty character, which can be predicted by simple models.


  1. A.-L. Barabási
    The origin of bursts and heavy tails in human dynamics.
    Nature 435, 207211 (2005).
    [PDF] [Supplementary Information]

  2. A. Vázquez
    Exact results for the Barabasi model of human dynamics.
    Physical Review Letters 95, 248701 (2005). [PDF]

  3. J. G. Oliveira & A.-L. Barabási
    Human Dynamics: The Correspondence Patterns of Darwin and Einstein.
    Nature 437, 1251 (2005) . [PDF] [Supplementary Information]

  4. A. Vázquez, J. G. Oliveira, Z. Dezsö, K.-I. Goh, I. Kondor & A.-L. Barabási
    Modeling bursts and heavy tails in human dynamics Physical Review E 73, 036127 (2006). [PDF]

  5. Z. Dezsö, E. Almaas, A. Lukács, B. Rácz, I. Szakadát & A.-L. Barabási
    Dynamics of information access on the web Physical Review E 73 (6): Art. No. 066132 Part 2, (2006). [ PDF ]

  6. Cesar A. Hidalgo, Conditions for the emergence of scaling in the inter-event time of uncorrelated and seasonal systems Physica A 369, 877-883 (2006). [ PDF ]
Talks Links
  • Albert-László Barabási
    2005 Trieste


  • Some Darwin and Einstein pictures... (see publication no. 3)