Entropy, Vol. 25, Pages 828: Local Phase Transitions in a Model of Multiplex Networks with Heterogeneous Degrees and Inter-Layer Coupling
Entropy doi: 10.3390/e25050828
Multilayer networks represent multiple types of connections between the same set of nodes. Clearly, a multilayer description of a system adds value only if the multiplex does not merely consist of independent layers. In real-world multiplexes, it is expected that the observed inter-layer overlap may result partly from spurious correlations arising from the heterogeneity of nodes, and partly from true inter-layer dependencies. It is therefore important to consider rigorous ways to disentangle these two effects. In this paper, we introduce an unbiased maximum entropy model of multiplexes with controllable intra-layer node degrees and controllable inter-layer overlap. The model can be mapped to a generalized Ising model, where the combination of node heterogeneity and inter-layer coupling leads to the possibility of local phase transitions. In particular, we find that node heterogeneity favors the splitting of critical points characterizing different pairs of nodes, leading to link-specific phase transitions that may, in turn, increase the overlap. By quantifying how the overlap can be increased by increasing either the intra-layer node heterogeneity (spurious correlation) or the strength of the inter-layer coupling (true correlation), the model allows us to disentangle the two effects. As an application, we show that the empirical overlap observed in the International Trade Multiplex genuinely requires a nonzero inter-layer coupling in its modeling, as it is not merely a spurious result of the correlation between node degrees across different layers.
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