On the properties of small-world network models

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Abstract:

We study the small-world networks recently introduced by Watts and Strogatz [Nature 393, 440 (1998)], using analytical as well as numerical tools. We characterize the geometrical properties resulting from the coexistence of a local structure and random long-range connections, and we examine their evolution with size and disorder strength. We show that any finite value of the disorder is able to trigger a “small-world” behaviour as soon as the initial lattice is big enough, and study the crossover between a regular lattice and a “small-world” one. These results are corroborated by the investigation of an Ising model defined on the network, showing for every finite disorder fraction a crossover from a high-temperature region dominated by the underlying one-dimensional structure to a mean-field like low-temperature region. In particular there exists a finite-temperature ferromagnetic phase transition as soon as the disorder strength is finite. [0.5cm]

Received 29 March 1999 and Received in final form 21 May 1999