Dimension reduction of dynamics on modular and heterogeneous directed networks.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


PNAS Nexus, Volume 2, Issue 5, p.pgad150 (2023)


<p>Dimension reduction is a common strategy to study nonlinear dynamical systems composed by a large number of variables. The goal is to find a smaller version of the system whose time evolution is easier to predict while preserving some of the key dynamical features of the original system. Finding such a reduced representation for complex systems is, however, a difficult task. We address this problem for dynamics on weighted directed networks, with special emphasis on modular and heterogeneous networks. We propose a two-step dimension-reduction method that takes into account the properties of the adjacency matrix. First, units are partitioned into groups of similar connectivity profiles. Each group is associated to an observable that is a weighted average of the nodes' activities within the group. Second, we derive a set of equations that must be fulfilled for these observables to properly represent the original system's behavior, together with a method for approximately solving them. The result is a reduced adjacency matrix and an approximate system of ODEs for the observables' evolution. We show that the reduced system can be used to predict some characteristic features of the complete dynamics for different types of connectivity structures, both synthetic and derived from real data, including neuronal, ecological, and social networks. Our formalism opens a way to a systematic comparison of the effect of various structural properties on the overall network dynamics. It can thus help to identify the main structural driving forces guiding the evolution of dynamical processes on networks.</p>

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