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Network Science

Error and attack tolerance of complex networks

Abstract
Here we demonstrate that error tolerance is not shared by all redundant systems: it is displayed only by a class of inhomogeneouslywired networks,called scale-free networks, which include theWorld-WideWeb, the Internet, social networks and cells. We find that such networks display an unexpected degree of robustness, the ability of their nodes to communicate being unaffected even by unrealistically high failure rates.However, error tolerance comes at a high price in that these networks are extremely vulnerable to attacks (that is, to the selection and removal of a few nodes that play a vital role in maintaining the network’s connectivity). Such error tolerance and attack vulnerability are generic properties of communication networks.

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