We review the recent rapid progress in the statistical physics of evolving networks. Interest has focused mainly on the structural properties of complex networks in communications, biology, social sciences and economics. A number of giant artificial networks of this kind have recently been created, which opens a wide field for the study of their topology, evolution, and the complex processes which occur in them. Such networks possess a rich set of scaling properties. A number of them are scale-free and show striking resilience against random breakdowns. In spite of the large sizes of these networks, the distances between most of their vertices are short - a feature known as the 'small-world' effect. We discuss how growing networks self-organize into scale-free structures, and investigate the role of the mechanism of preferential linking. We consider the topological and structural properties of evolving networks, and percolation and disease spread on these networks. We present a number of models demonstrating the main features of evolving networks and discuss current approaches for their simulation and analytical study. Applications of the general results to particular networks in nature are discussed. We demonstrate the generic connections of the network growth processes with the general problems of non-equilibrium physics, econophysics, evolutionary biology, and so on.
Advances in Physics
- Pub Date:
- June 2002
- Condensed Matter - Statistical Mechanics;
- Quantitative Biology
- 67 pages, updated, revised, and extended version of review, submitted to Adv. Phys