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The extreme vulnerability of interdependent spatially embedded networks

Nature Physics volume 9, pages 667672 (2013) | Download Citation

Abstract

Recent studies show that in interdependent networks a very small failure in one network may lead to catastrophic consequences. Above a critical fraction of interdependent nodes, even a single node failure can invoke cascading failures that may abruptly fragment the system, whereas below this critical dependency a failure of a few nodes leads only to a small amount of damage to the system. So far, research has focused on interdependent random networks without space limitations. However, many real systems, such as power grids and the Internet, are not random but are spatially embedded. Here we analytically and numerically study the stability of interdependent spatially embedded networks modelled as lattice networks. Surprisingly, we find that in lattice systems, in contrast to non-embedded systems, there is no critical dependency and any small fraction of interdependent nodes leads to an abrupt collapse. We show that this extreme vulnerability of very weakly coupled lattices is a consequence of the critical exponent describing the percolation transition of a single lattice.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge the European EPIWORK and MULTIPLEX (EU-FET project 317532) projects, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the Israel Science Foundation, ONR and DTRA for financial support.

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Affiliations

  1. Department of Physics, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan 5290002, Israel

    • Amir Bashan
    • , Yehiel Berezin
    •  & Shlomo Havlin
  2. Department of Physics, Yeshiva University, New York, New York 10033, USA

    • Sergey V. Buldyrev

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Contributions

A.B., Y.B., S.V.B. and S.H. conceived and designed the research. Y.B. carried out the numerical simulations. A.B. developed the theory and wrote the paper with contributions from all other authors.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Amir Bashan.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys2727

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