We consider the entire spectrum of architectures for large, growing, and complex networks, ranging from being heterogeneous (scale-free) to homogeneous (random or small-world), and investigate the infection dynamics by using a realistic three-state epidemiological model. In this framework, a node can be in one of the three states: susceptible (S), infected (I), or refractory (R), and the populations in the three groups are approximately described by a set of nonlinear differential equations. Our heuristic analysis predicts that, (1) regardless of the network architecture, there exists a substantial fraction of nodes that can never be infected, and (2) heterogeneous networks are relatively more robust against spread of infection as compared with homogeneous networks. These are confirmed numerically. We have also considered the problem of deliberate immunization for preventing wide spread of infection, with the result that targeted immunization can be quite effective for heterogeneous networks. We believe these results are important for a host of problems in many areas of natural science and engineering, and in social sciences as well.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics