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Nat Commun. 2013;4:2447. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3447.

Exact controllability of complex networks.

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  • 1School of Systems Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China.


Controlling complex networks is of paramount importance in science and engineering. Despite the recent development of structural controllability theory, we continue to lack a framework to control undirected complex networks, especially given link weights. Here we introduce an exact controllability paradigm based on the maximum multiplicity to identify the minimum set of driver nodes required to achieve full control of networks with arbitrary structures and link-weight distributions. The framework reproduces the structural controllability of directed networks characterized by structural matrices. We explore the controllability of a large number of real and model networks, finding that dense networks with identical weights are difficult to be controlled. An efficient and accurate tool is offered to assess the controllability of large sparse and dense networks. The exact controllability framework enables a comprehensive understanding of the impact of network properties on controllability, a fundamental problem towards our ultimate control of complex systems.

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