Intoductory material
Molecular Electronics Group

Recently developed concepts and techniques of analyzing complex systems provide new insight into the structure of social networks. Uncovering recurrent preferences and organizational principles in such networks is a key issue to characterize them. We investigate school friendship networks from the Add Health database. Applying threshold analysis, we find that the friendship networks do not form a single connected component through mutual strong nominations within a school, while under weaker conditions such interconnectedness is present. We extract the networks of overlapping communities at the schools (c-networks) and find that they are scale free and disassortative in contrast to the direct friendship networks, which have an exponential degree distribution and are assortative. Based on the network analysis we study the ethnic preferences in friendship selection. The clique percolation method we use reveals that when in minority, the students tend to build more densely interconnected groups of friends. We also find an asymmetry in the behavior of black minorities in a white majority as compared to that of white minorities in a black majority.

We study the size distribution of power blackouts for the Norwegian and North American power grids. We find that for both systems the size distribution follows power laws with exponents -1.65±0.05 and -2.0±0.1 respectively. We then present a model with global redistribution of the load when a link in the system fails which reproduces the power law from the Norwegian power grid if the simulation are carried out on the Norwegian high-voltage power grid. The model is also applied to regular and irregular networks and give power laws with exponents -2.0±0.05 for the regular networks and -1.5±0.05 for the irregular networks. A presented mean field theory is in good agreement with these numerical results.

Electronic databases, from phone to emails logs, currently provide detailed records of human communication patterns, offering novel avenues to map and explore the structure of social and communication networks. Here we examine the communication patterns of millions of mobile phone users, allowing us to simultaneously study the local and the global structure of a society-wide communication network. We observe a coupling between interaction strengths and the network's local structure, with the counterintuitive consequence that social networks are robust to the removal of the strong ties, but fall apart following a phase transition if the weak ties are removed. We show that this coupling significantly slows the diffusion process, resulting in dynamic trapping of information in communities, and find that when it comes to information diffusion, weak and strong ties are both simultaneously ineffective.

We consider a system hierarchically modular, if besides its hierarchical structure it shows a sequence of scale separations from the point of view of some functionality or property. Starting from regular, deterministic objects like the Vicsek snowflake or the deterministic scale free network by Ravasz et al. we first characterize the hierarchical modularity by the periodicity of some properties on a logarithmic scale indicating separation of scales. Then we introduce randomness by keeping the scale freeness and other important characteristics of the objects and monitor the changes in the modularity. In the presented examples sufficient amount of randomness destroys hierarchical modularity. Our findings suggest that the experimentally observed hierarchical modularity in systems with algebraically decaying clustering coefficients indicates a limited level of randomness.