Interpreting Physical Flows in Networks as a Communication System

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Downloads (Pure)


Information theory concepts and methodologies constitute the background of how communication systems are studied and understood. They are focused mainly on the source-channel-receiver problem and on the asymptotic limits of accuracy and communication rates, which are the classical problems studied by Shannon. However, the impact of information theory on networks (acting as the channel) is just starting. Here, we present an approach to understand how information flows in any connected network. Our approach is based on defining linear conservative flows that travel through the network from single or multiple sources to receivers. With these flows, we define a transition probability matrix that is similar to a Markovian process. Consequently, this framework allows us to have an analytical description of the problem and also to link the topological invariants of the network, such as the node degree, with the information flow and capacity, namely, the maximum amount of information generated by the network for any source-receiver configuration. In particular, our approach is able to deal with information transmission in modular networks (networks containing community structures) or multiplex networks (networks with multiple layers), which are nowadays of paramount importance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-23
Number of pages7
JournalIndian Academy of Sciences Conference Series
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017
EventConference on Perspectives in Nonlinear Dynamics 2016 - Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Duration: 24 Jul 201629 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

NR acknowledges the support of PEDECIBA, Uruguay. CG and MSB thank the Scottish University Physics Alliance (SUPA) support. MSB also acknowledges the support of EPSRC grant Ref. EP/I032606/1.


  • Complex Networks
  • Flow Networks
  • Information Measures
  • Random Walks


Dive into the research topics of 'Interpreting Physical Flows in Networks as a Communication System'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this