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Redundant Interdependencies Boost the Robustness of Multiplex Networks

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Journal Article - Open Access

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Indiana University Bloomington United States

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In the analysis of the robustness of multiplex networks, it is commonly assumed that a node is functioning only if its interdependent nodes are simultaneously functioning. According to this model, a multiplex network becomes more and more fragile as the number of layers increases. In this respect, the addition of a new layer of interdependent nodes to a preexisting multiplex network will never improve its robustness. Whereas such a model seems appropriate to understand the effect of interdependencies in the simplest scenario of a network composed of only two layers, it may seem unsuitable to characterize the robustness of real systems formed by multiple network layers. In fact, it seems unrealistic that a real system evolved, through the development of multiple layers of interactions, towards a fragile structure. In this paper, we introduce a model of percolation where the condition that makes a node functional is that the node is functioning in at least two of the layers of the network. The model reduces to the commonly adopted percolation model for multiplex networks when the number of layers equals two. For larger numbers of layers, however, the model describes a scenario where the addition of new layers boosts the robustness of the system by creating redundant interdependencies among layers. We prove this fact thanks to the development of a message-passing theory that is able to characterize the model in both synthetic and real-world multiplex graphs.

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  • Computer Systems

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