Time plays an essential role in the diffusion of information, influence and
disease over networks. In many cases we only observe when a node copies
information, makes a decision or becomes infected -- but the connectivity,
transmission rates between nodes and transmission sources are unknown.
Inferring the underlying dynamics is of outstanding interest since it enables
forecasting, influencing and retarding infections, broadly construed. To this
end, we model diffusion processes as discrete networks of continuous temporal
processes occurring at different rates. Given cascade data -- observed
infection times of nodes -- we infer the edges of the global diffusion network
and estimate the transmission rates of each edge that best explain the observed
data. The optimization problem is convex. The model naturally (without
heuristics) imposes sparse solutions and requires no parameter tuning. The
problem decouples into a collection of independent smaller problems, thus
scaling easily to networks on the order of hundreds of thousands of nodes.
Experiments on real and synthetic data show that our algorithm both recovers
the edges of diffusion networks and accurately estimates their transmission
rates from cascade data.