Complex Systems

Complex Network Metrology Download PDF

Jean-Loup Guillaume
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Matthieu Latapy
Electronic mail address:
LIAFA - CNRS - Université Paris 7,
2 place Jussieu, 75005 Paris, France


In order to study complex networks like the Internet, the World Wide Web, social networks, or biological networks, one first has to explore them. This gives a partial and biased view of the real object, which is generally assumed to be representative of the whole. However, until now nobody knows how and how much the measure influences the results.

Using the example of the Internet and a rough model of its exploration process, we show that the way a given complex network is explored may strongly influence the observed properties. This leads us to argue for the necessity of developing a science of metrology of complex networks. Its aim would be to study how the partial and biased view of a network relates to the properties of the whole network.