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Random Graphs with Arbitrary Degree Distribution and Their Applications

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  • M. E. J. Newman
  • S. H. Strogatz
  • D. J. Watts
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    Abstract

    Recent work on the structure of social networks and the internet has focussed attention on graphs with distributions of vertex degree that are significantly different from the Poisson degree distributions which have been widely studied in the past. In this paper we develop in detail the theory of random graphs with arbitrary degree distributions. In addition to simple undirected, unipartite graphs, we examine the properties of directed and bipartite graphs. Among other results, we derive exact expressions for the position of the phase transition at which a giant component first forms, the mean component size, the size of the giant component if there is one, the mean number of vertices a certain distance away from a randomly chosen vertex, and the average vertex-vertex distance within a graph. We also apply our theory to some real-world graphs, including the world-wide web and collaboration graphs of scientists and business-people. We demonstrate that in some cases random graphs with appropriate distributions of vertex degree predict with surprising accuracy the behavior of the real world, while in others there is a measurable discrepancy between theory and reality, perhaps indicating the presence of additional social structure in the network which is not captured by the random graph.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Santa Fe Institute in its series Working Papers with number 00-07-042.

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    Date of creation: Jul 2000
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    Handle: RePEc:wop:safiwp:00-07-042

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