K-core robustness in ecological and financial networks

Kate Burleson-Lesser, Flaviano Morone, Maria S. Tomassone, Hernán A. Makse
2020 Scientific Reports  
In many real-world networks, the ability to withstand targeted or global attacks; extinctions; or shocks is vital to the survival of the network itself, and of dependent structures such as economies (for financial networks) or even the planet (for ecosystems). Previous attempts to characterise robustness include nestedness of mutualistic networks or exploration of degree distribution. In this work we present a new approach for characterising the stability and robustness of networks with
more » ... tworks with all-positive interactions by studying the distribution of the k-shell of the underlying network. We find that high occupancy of nodes in the inner and outer k-shells and low occupancy in the middle shells of financial and ecological networks (yielding a "U-shape" in a histogram of k-shell occupancy) provide resilience against both local targeted and global attacks. Investigation of this highly-populated core gives insights into the nature of a network (such as sharp transitions in the core composition of the stock market from a mix of industries to domination by one or two in the mid-1990s) and allow predictions of future network stability, e.g., by monitoring populations of "core" species in an ecosystem or noting when stocks in the core-dominant sector begin to move in lock-step, presaging a dramatic move in the market. Moreover, this "U-shape" recalls core-periphery structure, seen in a wide range of networks including opinion and internet networks, suggesting that the "U-shaped" occupancy histogram and its implications for network health may indeed be universal.
doi:10.1038/s41598-020-59959-4 pmid:32099020 pmcid:PMC7042264 fatcat:glkivglannfdjle7su4hiktipm