Percolation of a general network of networks

Jianxi Gao, Sergey V. Buldyrev, H. Eugene Stanley, Xiaoming Xu, Shlomo Havlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Percolation theory is an approach to study the vulnerability of a system. We develop an analytical framework and analyze the percolation properties of a network composed of interdependent networks (NetONet). Typically, percolation of a single network shows that the damage in the network due to a failure is a continuous function of the size of the failure, i.e., the fraction of failed nodes. In sharp contrast, in NetONet, due to the cascading failures, the percolation transition may be discontinuous and even a single node failure may lead to an abrupt collapse of the system. We demonstrate our general framework for a NetONet composed of n classic Erdos-Rényi (ER) networks, where each network depends on the same number m of other networks, i.e., for a random regular network (RR) formed of interdependent ER networks. The dependency between nodes of different networks is taken as one-to-one correspondence, i.e., a node in one network can depend only on one node in the other network (no-feedback condition). In contrast to a treelike NetONet in which the size of the largest connected cluster (mutual component) depends on n, the loops in the RR NetONet cause the largest connected cluster to depend only on m and the topology of each network but not on n. We also analyzed the extremely vulnerable feedback condition of coupling, where the coupling between nodes of different networks is not one-to-one correspondence. In the case of NetONet formed of ER networks, percolation only exhibits two phases, a second order phase transition and collapse, and no first order percolation transition regime is found in the case of the no-feedback condition. In the case of NetONet composed of RR networks, there exists a first order phase transition when the coupling strength q (fraction of interdependency links) is large and a second order phase transition when q is small. Our insight on the resilience of coupled networks might help in designing robust interdependent systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number062816
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number6
StatePublished - 20 Dec 2013


FundersFunder number
National Science Foundation1125290
Seventh Framework Programme289447, 317532, 317672


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