Emergent scale-free networks
Visiting speaker
Christopher W. Lynn
Postdoctoral Fellow, Princeton University and City University of New York
Past Talk
Hybrid talk
Friday
Feb 10, 2023
Watch video
11:00 am
Virtual
177 Huntington Ave,
11th floor
Online
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Many complex systems – from the Internet to social, biological, and communication networks – are thought to exhibit scale-free structure. However, prevailing explanations require networks to constantly grow, an assumption that fails in some real-world settings. Here, we propose a model in which nodes die and their connections rearrange under a mixture of preferential and random attachment. Under these simple dynamics, we show that networks self-organize towards scale-free structure, with a power-law exponent γ = 1 + 1/p that depends only on the proportion p of preferential (rather than random) attachment. Applying our model to several real networks, we infer p directly from data and predict the relationship between network size and degree heterogeneity. Additionally, we show that similar dynamics can explain the emergence of other heavy-tailed network features, such as the connection strengths in populations of neurons. Together, these results establish that scale-free structure can arise naturally as the steady-state of a simple dynamical process in networks of constant size and density.

About the speaker
About the speaker
Chris is a JSMF Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Physics of Biological Function at Princeton University and the City University of New York working with William Bialek, Stephanie Palmer, and David Schwab. Previously, he received his Ph.D. in Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania under the supervision of Dani Bassett. Website: https://sites.google.com/view/chrislynn.
Chris is a JSMF Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Physics of Biological Function at Princeton University and the City University of New York working with William Bialek, Stephanie Palmer, and David Schwab. Previously, he received his Ph.D. in Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania under the supervision of Dani Bassett. Website: https://sites.google.com/view/chrislynn.