Information dynamics in small-world boolean networks

Joseph T. Lizier*, Siddharth Pritam, Mikhail Prokopenko Prokopenko

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Small-world networks have been one of the most influential concepts in complex systems science, partly due to their prevalence in naturally occurring networks. It is often suggested that this prevalence is due to an inherent capability to store and transfer information efficiently. We perform an ensemble investigation of the computational capabilities of small-world networks as compared to ordered and random topologies. To generate dynamic behavior for this experiment, we imbue the nodes in these networks with random Boolean functions. We find that the ordered phase of the dynamics (low activity in dynamics) and topologies with low randomness are dominated by information storage, while the chaotic phase (high activity in dynamics) and topologies with high randomness are dominated by information transfer. Information storage and information transfer are somewhat balanced (crossed over ) near the small-world regime, providing quantitative evidence that small-world networks do indeed have a propensity to combine comparably large information storage and transfer capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-314
Number of pages22
JournalArtificial Life
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Distributed computation
  • Iinformation storage
  • Information transfer
  • Phase transitions
  • Random Boolean networks
  • Small-world networks


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