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The SoBigData paper on “Returners and explorers dichotomy in human mobility” has just been published on an interdisciplinary collection of recent research on complex systems of Nature Communications. The prestigious journal choose to feature the article in the section on “Social Systems”. The authors are Luca Pappalardo, Filippo Simini, Salvatore Rinzivillo, Dino Pedreschi, Fosca Giannotti and Albert-László Barabási.

Returners and explorers - The availability of massive digital traces of human whereabouts has offered a series of novel insights on the quantitative patterns characterizing human mobility. In particular, numerous recent studies have lead to an unexpected consensus: the considerable variability in the characteristic travelled distance of individuals coexists with a high degree of predictability of their future locations. In this paper, Pappalardo and colleagues shed light on this surprising coexistence by systematically investigating the impact of recurrent mobility on the characteristic distance travelled by individuals. Using both mobile phone and GPS data, they discover the existence of two distinct classes of individuals: returners and explorers. “We show that returners and explorers play a distinct quantifiable role in spreading phenomena and that a correlation exists between their mobility patterns and social interactions” Pappalardo explains.

The Nature web collection - The web collection showcases the potential of interdisciplinary complexity research by bringing together a selection of Nature Communications articles investigating complex systems. Complexity research aims to characterize and understand the behaviour and nature of systems made up of many interacting elements. Such efforts often require interdisciplinary collaboration and expertise from diverse schools of thought. Nature Communications publishes papers across a broad range of topics that span the physical and life sciences, making the journal an ideal home for interdisciplinary studies. “Solving some of the most important problems in science may only be possible when scientists with different backgrounds collaborate to address shared questions using complementary techniques”.  


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