The synchronized dynamics of time-varying networks

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Physics Reports


Over the past two decades, complex network theory provided the ideal framework for investigating the intimate relationships between the topological properties characterizing the wiring of connections among a system's unitary components and its emergent synchronized functioning. An increased number of setups from the real world found therefore a representation in terms of graphs, while more and more sophisticated methods were developed with the aim of furnishing a realistic description of the connectivity patterns under study. In particular, a significant number of systems in physics, biology and social science features a time-varying nature of the interactions among their units. We here give a comprehensive review of the major results obtained by contemporary studies on the emergence of synchronization in time-varying networks. In particular, two paradigmatic frameworks will be described in detail. The first encompasses those systems where the time dependence of the nodes’ connections is due to adaptation, external forces, or any other process affecting each of the links of the network. The second framework, instead, corresponds to the case in which the structural evolution of the graph is due to the movement of the nodes, or agents, in physical spaces and to the fact that interactions may be ruled by space-dependent laws in a way that connections are continuously switched on and off in the course of the time. Finally, our report ends with a short discussion on promising directions and open problems for future studies.

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Open Access, Green

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