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TITLE Uncovering hidden dependency in weighted networks via information entropy
JOURNAL Physical Review Research, 2021
ARCHIVE arXiv:2008.11047
ABSTRACT Interactions between elements, which are usually represented by networks, have to delineate potentially unequal relationships in terms of their relative importance or direction. The intrinsic unequal relationships of such kind, however, are opaque or hidden in numerous real systems. For instance, when a node in a network with limited interaction capacity spends its capacity to its neighboring nodes, the allocation of the total amount of interactions to them can be vastly diverse. Even if such potentially heterogeneous interactions epitomized by weighted networks are observable, as a result of the aforementioned egocentric allocation of interactions, the relative importance or dependency between two interacting nodes can only be implicitly accessible. In this work, we precisely pinpoint such relative dependency by proposing the framework to discover hidden dependent relations extracted from weighted networks. For a given weighted network, we provide a systematic criterion to select the most essential interactions for individual nodes based on the concept of information entropy. The criterion is symbolized by assigning the effective number of neighbors or the effective out-degree to each node, and the resultant directed subnetwork decodes the hidden dependent relations by leaving only the most essential directed interactions. We apply our methodology to two time-stamped empirical network data, namely, the international trade relations between nations in the world trade web (WTW) and the network of people in the historical record of Korea, Annals of the Joseon Dynasty (AJD). Based on the data analysis, we discover that the properties of mutual dependency encoded in the two systems are vastly different. The nations in the WTW show much more asymmetric dependent relations than its random counterpart, which implies the global economic inequality in international trades. In contrast, the relationships of people in the AJD are much more mutual than the nations in the WTW. The difference comes from nontrivial correlations (or lack thereof) in the networks, for which we provide the relevant network properties and representative example nations in the case of the WTW.
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