The European Physical Journal Special Topics

, Volume 226, Issue 3, pp 383–389 | Cite as

Canonical horizontal visibility graphs are uniquely determined by their degree sequence

Open Access
Regular Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Nonlinearity, Nonequilibrium and Complexity: Questions and Perspectives in Statistical Physics


Horizontal visibility graphs (HVGs) are graphs constructed in correspondence with number sequences that have been introduced and explored recently in the context of graph-theoretical time series analysis. In most of the cases simple measures based on the degree sequence (or functionals of these such as entropies over degree and joint degree distributions) appear to be highly informative features for automatic classification and provide nontrivial information on the associated dynamical process, working even better than more sophisticated topological metrics. It is thus an open question why these seemingly simple measures capture so much information. Here we prove that, under suitable conditions, there exist a bijection between the adjacency matrix of an HVG and its degree sequence, and we give an explicit construction of such bijection. As a consequence, under these conditions HVGs are unigraphs and the degree sequence fully encapsulates all the information of these graphs, thereby giving a plausible reason for its apparently unreasonable effectiveness.


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© The Author(s) 2017

Open Access This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied MathematicsSchool of Aeronautics, Technical University of Madrid (UPM), Plaza Cardenal CisnerosMadridSpain
  2. 2.School of Mathematical Sciences, Queen Mary University of LondonLondon E14NSUK

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