Network Science

Reverse engineering of linking preferences from network restructuring

We provide a method to deduce the preferences governing the restructuring dynamics of a network from the observed rewiring of the edges. Our approach is applicable for systems in which the preferences can be formulated in terms of a single-vertex energy function with fskd being the contribution of a node of degree k to the total energy, and the dynamics obeys the detailed balance. The method is first tested by Monte Carlo simulations of restructuring graphs with known energies; then it is used to study variations of real network systems ranging from the coauthorship network of scientific publications to the asset graphs of the New York Stock Exchange. The empirical energies obtained from the restructuring can be described by a universal function fskd,−k ln k, which is consistent with and justifies the validity of the preferential attachment rule proposed for growing networks.


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