Synchronization in networks with multiple interaction layers

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Science Advances  16 Nov 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 11, e1601679
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601679


The structure of many real-world systems is best captured by networks consisting of several interaction layers. Understanding how a multilayered structure of connections affects the synchronization properties of dynamical systems evolving on top of it is a highly relevant endeavor in mathematics and physics and has potential applications in several socially relevant topics, such as power grid engineering and neural dynamics. We propose a general framework to assess the stability of the synchronized state in networks with multiple interaction layers, deriving a necessary condition that generalizes the master stability function approach. We validate our method by applying it to a network of Rössler oscillators with a double layer of interactions and show that highly rich phenomenology emerges from this. This includes cases where the stability of synchronization can be induced even if both layers would have individually induced unstable synchrony, an effect genuinely arising from the true multilayer structure of the interactions among the units in the network.

  • Multi-layer networks
  • synchronization
  • stability
  • master stability function

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