Christoly Biely, Stefan Thurner
Paper #: 05-10-038
Based on a rigorous extension of classical statistical mechanics to networks, we study a specific microscopic network Hamiltonian. The form of this Hamiltonian is derived from the assumption that individual nodes increase/decrease their utility by linking to nodes with a higher/lower degree than their own. We interpret utility as an equivalent to energy in physical systems and discuss the temperature dependence of the emerging networks. We observe the existence of a critical temperature $T_c$ where total energy (utility) and network-architecture undergo radical changes. Along this topological transition we obtain scale-free networks with complex hierarchical topology. In contrast to models for scale-free networks introduced so far, the scale-free nature emerges within equilibrium, with a clearly defined microcanonical ensemble and the principle of detailed balance strictly fulfilled. This provides clear evidence that ”complex” networks may arise without irreversibility. The results presented here should find a wide variety of applications in socio-economic statistical systems.