Error and attack tolerance of complex networks

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Many complex systems display a surprising degree of tolerance against errors. For example, relatively simple organisms grow, persist and reproduce despite drastic pharmaceutical or environmental interventions, an error tolerance attributed to the robustness of the underlying metabolic network(1). Complex communication networks(2) display a surprising degree of robustness: although key components regularly malfunction, local failures rarely lead to the loss of the global information-carrying ability of the network. The stability of these and other complex systems is often attributed to the redundant wiring of the functional web defined by the systems' components. Here we demonstrate that error tolerance is not shared by all redundant systems: it is displayed only by a class of inhomogeneously wired networks, called scale-free networks, which include the World-Wide Web(3-5), the Internet(6), social networks(7) and cells(8). 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.
Publisher
MACMILLAN PUBLISHERS LTD
Issue Date
2000-07
Language
English
Article Type
Article
Keywords

SMALL-WORLD NETWORKS; WIDE-WEB; INTERNET; DYNAMICS

Citation

NATURE, v.406, no.6794, pp.378 - 382

ISSN
0028-0836
DOI
10.1038/35019019
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/75990
Appears in Collection
PH-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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