Degree Dispersion Increases the Rate of Rare Events in Population Networks

Jason Hindes, Michael Assaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


There is great interest in predicting rare and extreme events in complex systems, and in particular, understanding the role of network topology in facilitating such events. In this Letter, we show that degree dispersion - the fact that the number of local connections in networks varies broadly - increases the probability of large, rare fluctuations in population networks generically. We perform explicit calculations for two canonical and distinct classes of rare events: network extinction and switching. When the distance to threshold is held constant, and hence stochastic effects are fairly compared among networks, we show that there is a universal, exponential increase in the rate of rare events proportional to the variance of a network's degree distribution over its mean squared.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number068301
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - 9 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

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© 2019 American Physical Society. American Physical Society.


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