Nature of the network: nodes, links and sexy hubs

I just watched Albert-László Barabási lecture (from 2011) about principles that networks are based on. As he contend there are some rules that we can observe in micro- and macro-scale as well:

1. networks have natural tendency to form hubs; each network has several huge hubs that are connecting most of nodes;

2. because of that there is always short path between distant nodes (less that 6 handshakes);

3. networks are still evolving, new nods are emerging and willingly attaching to the hubs;

4. there are nodes with bigger fitness and they become hubs;

5. random errors cannot destroy network but purposeful attack (especially on hubs) can;

6. network is consisting of communities of nodes which has similar behavior characteristic.

I found it interesting because of some observations about *hubes*. What are they? They are „better” nodes. Nodes have two characteristics. One, quite obvious and measurable, is the number of links they are connected with. Higher number makes you hub. It works like that: if you are a new node you probably will link to the nodes with high number of links because they are just easier to find and it will enable you to find short path to other nodes. This is how hubs are created.

Second attribute of the node is its fitness (which can be also called ‚sex appeal’ I guess), it determinate if you want to connect with that particular node. In basic model, the more links you have, the more attractive you are. While network is growing and new hubs emerge, old hubs’ position is declining. But if some node has a special fitness (not based only on a number of links) network grows differently. Most of other nodes want to connect with it and shortly it become a hub and what is important it maintain its dominating position.

So it looks like the dream about horizontal architecture of Internet is utopian because it is against nature of network. Hubization (=centralization=oligopolization) is inevitable. The only solution for freedom lovers is to become a very sexy hub which will attract a lot of nodes. Of course now the question is what makes one node more fit than others. We don’t find the answer in tha=centralization)t lecture but that’s OK. More to think for us, the merrier :)

Lecture here:



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