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Ecology 2.0: Coexistence and Domination of Interacting Networks

Wed, 12 Nov 2014 23:19:42 GMT

The overwhelming success of the web 2.0, with online social networks as key actors, has induced a paradigm shift in the nature of human interactions. The user-driven character of these services for the first time has allowed researchers to quantify large-scale social patterns. However, the mechanisms that determine the fate of networks at a system level are still poorly understood. For instance, the simultaneous existence of numerous digital services naturally raises the question under which conditions these services can coexist. In analogy to population dynamics, the digital world is forming a complex ecosystem of interacting networks whose fitnesses depend on their ability to attract and maintain users' attention, which constitutes a limited resource. In this paper, we introduce an ecological theory of the digital world which exhibits a stable coexistence of several networks as well as the domination of a single one, in contrast to the principle of competitive exclusion. Interestingly, our model also predicts that the most probable outcome is the coexistence of a moderate number of services, in agreement with empirical observations.

Ecology 2.0: Coexistence and Domination among Interacting Networks
Kaj Kolja Kleineberg, Marián Boguñá


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