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Sci Rep. 2013;3:1344. doi: 10.1038/srep01344.

Emergence of network features from multiplexity.

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Institute for Biocomputation and Physics of Complex Systems (BIFI), Departamento de Física de Materia Condensada, Universidad de Zaragoza, E-50009 Zaragoza, Spain.


Many biological and man-made networked systems are characterized by the simultaneous presence of different sub-networks organized in separate layers, with links and nodes of qualitatively different types. While during the past few years theoretical studies have examined a variety of structural features of complex networks, the outstanding question is whether such features are characterizing all single layers, or rather emerge as a result of coarse-graining, i.e. when going from the multilayered to the aggregate network representation. Here we address this issue with the help of real data. We analyze the structural properties of an intrinsically multilayered real network, the European Air Transportation Multiplex Network in which each commercial airline defines a network layer. We examine how several structural measures evolve as layers are progressively merged together. In particular, we discuss how the topology of each layer affects the emergence of structural properties in the aggregate network.

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