Signatures of small-world and scale-free properties in large computer programs

A P S de Moura, Y C Lai, A E Motter, Ying-Cheng Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)


A large computer program is typically divided into many hundreds or even thousands of smaller units, whose logical connections define a network in a natural way. This network reflects the internal structure of the program, and defines the "information flow" within the program. We show that (1) due to its growth in time this network displays a scale-free feature in that the probability of the number of links at a node obeys a power-law distribution, and (2) as a result of performance optimization of the program the network has a small-world structure. We believe that these features are generic for large computer programs. Our work extends the previous studies on growing networks, which have mostly been for physical networks, to the domain of computer software.

Original languageEnglish
Article number017102
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review. E, Statistical, Nonlinear and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003


  • complex networks
  • wide-web
  • evolving networks
  • growing networks
  • connectivity
  • emergence
  • dynamics
  • topology
  • physics
  • model


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