Centrality measures and thermodynamic formalism for complex networks

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In the study of small and large networks it is customary to perform a simple random walk where the random walker jumps from one node to one of its neighbors with uniform probability. The properties of this random walk are intimately related to the combinatorial properties of the network. In this paper we propose to use the Ruelle-Bowens random walk instead, whose probability transitions are chosen in order to maximize the entropy rate of the walk on an unweighted graph. If the graph is weighted, then a free energy is optimized instead of the entropy rate. Specifically, we introduce a centrality measure for large networks, which is the stationary distribution attained by the Ruelle-Bowens random walk; we name it entropy rank. We introduce a more general version, which is able to deal with disconnected networks, under the name of free-energy rank. We compare the properties of those centrality measures with the classic PageRank and hyperlink-induced topic search (HITS) on both toy and real-life examples, in particular their robustness to small modifications of the network. We show that our centrality measures are more discriminating than PageRank, since they are able to distinguish clearly pages that PageRank regards as almost equally interesting, and are more sensitive to the medium-scale details of the graph.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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