Network science enables the effective analysis of real interconnected systems, characterized by a complex interplay between topology and network flows. It is well-known that the topology of a network affects its resilience to failures or attacks, as well as its functions. Many real systems—such as the Internet, transportation networks and the brain—exchange information, so it is crucial to quantify how efficiently system’s units communicate. Measures of parallel communication efficiency for weighted networks rely on the identification of an ideal version of the system, which currently lacks a universal definition. Consequently, an inattentive choice might hinder a rigorous comparison of network flows across scales or might lead to a descriptor not robust to fluctuations in the topology or the flows. We propose a physically-grounded estimator of flow efficiency valid for any weighted network, regardless of scale, nature of weights and (missing) metadata, allowing for comparison across disparate systems. Our estimator captures the effect of flows heterogeneity along with topological differences of both synthetic and empirical systems. We also show that cutting the heaviest connections may increase the average efficiency of the system and hence, counterintuively, a sparser network is not necessarily less efficient.

Quantifying efficient information exchange in real network flows

Giulia Bertagnolli
;
Riccardo Gallotti;Manlio De Domenico
2021

Abstract

Network science enables the effective analysis of real interconnected systems, characterized by a complex interplay between topology and network flows. It is well-known that the topology of a network affects its resilience to failures or attacks, as well as its functions. Many real systems—such as the Internet, transportation networks and the brain—exchange information, so it is crucial to quantify how efficiently system’s units communicate. Measures of parallel communication efficiency for weighted networks rely on the identification of an ideal version of the system, which currently lacks a universal definition. Consequently, an inattentive choice might hinder a rigorous comparison of network flows across scales or might lead to a descriptor not robust to fluctuations in the topology or the flows. We propose a physically-grounded estimator of flow efficiency valid for any weighted network, regardless of scale, nature of weights and (missing) metadata, allowing for comparison across disparate systems. Our estimator captures the effect of flows heterogeneity along with topological differences of both synthetic and empirical systems. We also show that cutting the heaviest connections may increase the average efficiency of the system and hence, counterintuively, a sparser network is not necessarily less efficient.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11582/326991
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