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      Error and attack tolerance of complex networks

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          Abstract

          Many complex systems, such as communication networks, display a surprising degree of robustness: while key components regularly malfunction, local failures rarely lead to the loss of the global information-carrying ability of the network. The stability of these complex systems is often attributed to the redundant wiring of the functional web defined by the systems' components. In this paper we demonstrate that error tolerance is not shared by all redundant systems, but it is displayed only by a class of inhomogeneously wired networks, called scale-free networks. We find that scale-free networks, describing a number of systems, such as the World Wide Web, Internet, social networks or a cell, display an unexpected degree of robustness, the ability of their nodes to communicate being unaffected by even unrealistically high failure rates. However, error tolerance comes at a high price: these networks are extremely vulnerable to attacks, i.e. to the selection and removal of a few nodes that play the most important role in assuring the network's connectivity.

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          Most cited references 6

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          Emergence of scaling in random networks

          Systems as diverse as genetic networks or the world wide web are best described as networks with complex topology. A common property of many large networks is that the vertex connectivities follow a scale-free power-law distribution. This feature is found to be a consequence of the two generic mechanisms that networks expand continuously by the addition of new vertices, and new vertices attach preferentially to already well connected sites. A model based on these two ingredients reproduces the observed stationary scale-free distributions, indicating that the development of large networks is governed by robust self-organizing phenomena that go beyond the particulars of the individual systems.
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            How Popular is Your Paper? An Empirical Study of the Citation Distribution

             S Redner (1998)
            Numerical data for the distribution of citations are examined for: (i) papers published in 1981 in journals which are catalogued by the Institute for Scientific Information (783,339 papers) and (ii) 20 years of publications in Physical Review D, vols. 11-50 (24,296 papers). A Zipf plot of the number of citations to a given paper versus its citation rank appears to be consistent with a power-law dependence for leading rank papers, with exponent close to -1/2. This, in turn, suggests that the number of papers with x citations, N(x), has a large-x power law decay N(x)~x^{-alpha}, with alpha approximately equal to 3.
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              Mean-field theory for scale-free random networks

              Random networks with complex topology are common in Nature, describing systems as diverse as the world wide web or social and business networks. Recently, it has been demonstrated that most large networks for which topological information is available display scale-free features. Here we study the scaling properties of the recently introduced scale-free model, that can account for the observed power-law distribution of the connectivities. We develop a mean-field method to predict the growth dynamics of the individual vertices, and use this to calculate analytically the connectivity distribution and the scaling exponents. The mean-field method can be used to address the properties of two variants of the scale-free model, that do not display power-law scaling.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                03 August 2000
                Article
                10.1038/35019019
                cond-mat/0008064
                Custom metadata
                Nature 406, 378-382 (2000)
                14 pages, 4 figures, Latex
                cond-mat.dis-nn cond-mat.stat-mech

                Condensed matter, Theoretical physics

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