Understanding scaling through history-dependent processes with collapsing sample space

Corominas-Murtra, B., Hanel, R., & Thurner, S. (2015). Understanding scaling through history-dependent processes with collapsing sample space. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112 (17) 5348-5353. 10.1073/pnas.1420946112.

Understanding scaling through history-dependent processes with collapsing sample space.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (1MB) | Preview


History-dependent processes are ubiquitous in natural and social systems. Many such stochastic proceses, especially those that are associated with complex systems, become more constrained as they unfold, meaning that their sample space, or their set of possible outcomes, reduces as they age. We demonstrate that these sample-space-reducing (SSR) processs necessarily lead to Zipf's law in the rank distributions of their outcomes. We show that by adding noise to SSR processes the corresponding rank distributions remain exact power laws, p(x)~x^-Lambda, where the exponent directly corresponds to the mixng ratio of the SSR process and noise. This allows us to give a precise meaning to the scaling exponent in terms of the degree to which a given process reduces its distributions ranging from alpha = 2 to Infinity. We discuss several applications showing how SSR processes can be used to understand Zipf's law in word frequencies, and how they are related to diffusion processes in directed networks, or aging processes such as in fragmentation processes. SSR processes provide a new alternative to understand the origin of scaling in complex systems without the recourse to multiplicative, preferential, or self-organized critical processes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: network diffusion; path dependence; random walks; scaling laws, Zipf's law
Research Programs: Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA)
Bibliographic Reference: PNAS; 112(17):5348-5353 (April 2015)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:53
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:39
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/11454

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item