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Error and attack tolerance of complex networks
From: InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2001 02:52:18 -0600 (CST)

Forwarded from: R. A. Hettinga <rah () shipwright com>


Error and attack tolerance of complex networks
Reka Albert, Hawoong Jeong & Albert-Laszlo Barabasi
Department of Physics, 225 Nieuwland Science Hall, University of Notre Dame,
Notre Dame, Indiana 46556, USA


In summary, we find that scale-free networks display a surprisingly high
degree of tolerance against random failures, a property not shared by
their exponential counterparts. This robustness is probably the basis of
the error tolerance of many complex systems, ranging from cells 8 to
distributed communication systems. It also explains why, despite frequent
router problems 23, we rarely experience global network outages or,
despite the temporary unavailability of many web pages, our ability to
surf and locate information on the web is unaffected. However, the error
tolerance comes at the expense of attack survivability: the diameter of
these networks increases rapidly and they break into many isolated
fragments when the most connected nodes are targeted. Such decreased
attack survivability is useful for drug design 8, but it is less
encouraging for communication systems, such as the Internet or the WWW.
Although it is generally thought that attacks on networks with distributed
resource management are less successful, our results indicate otherwise.
The topological weaknesses of the current communication networks, rooted
in their inhomogeneous connectivity distribution, seriously reduce their
attack survivability. This could be exploited by those seeking to damage
these systems.


See also:

http://vlado.fmf.uni-lj.si/pub/networks/pajek/pajekman.htm which looks like
an interesting package for graphing complex network structures...


R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah () ibuc com>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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