Modeling Higher-Order Adaptivity of a Network by Multilevel Network Reification

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In network models for real-world domains often network adaptation has to be addressed by incorporating certain network adaptation principles. In some cases, also higher-order adaptation occurs: the adaptation principles themselves also change over time. To model such multilevel adaptation processes it is useful to have some generic architecture. Such an architecture should describe and distinguish the dynamics within the network (base level), but also the dynamics of the network itself by certain adaptation principles (first-order adaptation level), and also the adaptation of these adaptation principles (second-order adaptation level), and maybe still more levels of higher-order adaptation. This paper introduces a multilevel network architecture for this, based on the notion network reification. Reification of a network occurs when a base network is extended by adding explicit states representing the characteristics of the structure of the base network. It will be shown how this construction can be used to explitly represent network adaptation principles within a network. When the reified network is itself also reified, also second-order adaptation principles can be explicitly represented. The multilevel network reification construction introduced here is illustrated for an adaptive adaptation principle from Social Science for bonding based on homophily. This first-order adaptation principle describes how connections are changing, whereas this first-order adaptation principle itself changes over time by a second-order adaptation principle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-35
Number of pages35
JournalNetwork Science
Issue numberS1
Early online date4 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Issue S1: Complex Networks 2018.


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