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Complex networks as an emerging property of hierarchical preferential attachment

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American Physical Society
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Structures organisationnelles
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Real complex systems are not rigidly structured; no clear rules or blueprints exist for their construction. Yet, amidst their apparent randomness, complex structural properties universally emerge. We propose that an important class of complex systems can be modeled as an organization of many embedded levels (potentially infinite in number), all of them following the same universal growth principle known as preferential attachment. We give examples of such hierarchy in real systems, for instance, in the pyramid of production entities of the film industry. More importantly, we show how real complex networks can be interpreted as a projection of our model, from which their scale independence, their clustering, their hierarchy, their fractality, and their navigability naturally emerge. Our results suggest that complex networks, viewed as growing systems, can be quite simple, and that the apparent complexity of their structure is largely a reflection of their unobserved hierarchical nature.

Physical review. E, Statistical physics, plasmas, fluids, and related interdisciplinary topics, Vol. 92 (6), (December 2015)
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