We investigate the emergence of extreme events in interdependent networks. We introduce an inter-layer traffic resource competing mechanism to account for the limited capacity associated with distinct network layers. A striking finding is that, when the number of network layers and/or the overlap among the layers are increased, extreme events can emerge in a cascading manner on a global scale. Asymptotically, there are two stable absorption states: a state free of extreme events and a state of full of extreme events, and the transition between them is abrupt. Our results indicate that internal interactions in the multiplex system can yield qualitatively distinct phenomena associated with extreme events that do not occur for independent network layers. An implication is that, e.g., public resource competitions among different service providers can lead to a higher resource requirement than naively expected. We derive an analytical theory to understand the emergence of global-scale extreme events based on the concept of effective betweenness. We also articulate a cost-effective control scheme through increasing the capacity of very few hubs to suppress the cascading process of extreme events so as to protect the entire multi-layer infrastructure against global-scale breakdown.
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