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We study data transfer opportunities between wireless devices carried by humans. We observe that the distribution of the intercontact time (the time gap separating two contacts between the same pair of devices) may be well approximated by a power law over the range [10 minutes; 1 day]. This observation is confirmed using eight distinct experimental data sets. It is at odds with the exponential decay implied by the most commonly used mobility models. In this paper, we study how this newly uncovered characteristic of human mobility impacts one class of forwarding algorithms previously proposed. We use a simplified model based on the renewal theory to study how the parameters of the distribution impact the performance in terms of the delivery delay of these algorithms. We make recommendations for the design of well-founded opportunistic forwarding algorithms in the context of human-carried devices.
Computer systems organization, communication/networking and information technology, mobile computing, algorithm/protocol design and analysis, mobile environments, mathematics of computing, probability and statistics.

J. Scott, J. Crowcroft, C. Diot, A. Chaintreau, R. Gass and P. Hui, "Impact of Human Mobility on Opportunistic Forwarding Algorithms," in IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, vol. 6, no. , pp. 606-620, 2007.
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