• time series;
  • complex network;
  • chaos;
  • random;
  • diverging speed


In this article, we propose a novel method for transforming a time series into a complex network graph. The proposed algorithm is based on the spatial distribution of a time series. The characteristics of geometric parameters of a network represent the dynamic characteristics of a time series. Our algorithm transforms, respectively, a constant series into a fully connected graph, periodic time series into a regular graph, linear divergent time series into a tree, and chaotic time series into an approximately power law distribution network graph. We find that when the dimension of reconstructed phase space increases, the corresponding graph for a random time series quickly turns into a completely unconnected graph, while that for a chaotic time series maintains a certain level of connectivity. The characteristics of the generated network, including the total edges, the degree distribution, and the clustering coefficient, reflect the characteristics of the time series, including diverging speed, level of certainty, and level of randomness. This observation allows a chaotic time series to be easily identified from a random time series. The method may be useful for analysis of complex nonlinear systems such as chaos and random systems, by perceiving the differences in the outcomes of the systems—the time series—in the identification of the systemic levels of certainty or randomness. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Complexity, 2011