Target control of complex networks

Jianxi Gao, Y.-Y.Liu, R. M. D'Souza, A.-L. Barabási
Nature Communications
5:5415, 1-7 (2014).
November 12, 2014


Controlling large  natural and technological networks is an outstanding challenge. It is  typically neither feasible nor necessary to control the entire network,  prompting us to explore target control: the efficient control of a  preselected subset of nodes. We show that the structural controllability  approach used for full control overestimates the minimum number of driver  nodes needed for target control. Here we develop an alternate 'k-walk' theory for directed tree networks, and we rigorously prove that one node can  control a set of target nodes if the path length to each target node is  unique. For more general cases, we develop a greedy algorithm to approximate  the minimum set of driver nodes sufficient for target control. We find that  degree heterogeneous networks are target controllable with higher efficiency  than homogeneous networks and that the structure of many real-world networks  are suitable for efficient target control.

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