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Phys Rev Lett. 2001 Nov 5;87(19):198701. Epub 2001 Oct 17.

Efficient behavior of small-world networks.

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Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques, Université Paris-Sud, Batiment 100, 91405 Orsay Cedex, France.


We introduce the concept of efficiency of a network as a measure of how efficiently it exchanges information. By using this simple measure, small-world networks are seen as systems that are both globally and locally efficient. This gives a clear physical meaning to the concept of "small world," and also a precise quantitative analysis of both weighted and unweighted networks. We study neural networks and man-made communication and transportation systems and we show that the underlying general principle of their construction is in fact a small-world principle of high efficiency.

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