Efficient behavior of small-world networks

Phys Rev Lett. 2001 Nov 5;87(19):198701. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.87.198701. Epub 2001 Oct 17.


We introduce the concept of efficiency of a network as a measure of how efficiently it exchanges information. By using this simple measure, small-world networks are seen as systems that are both globally and locally efficient. This gives a clear physical meaning to the concept of "small world," and also a precise quantitative analysis of both weighted and unweighted networks. We study neural networks and man-made communication and transportation systems and we show that the underlying general principle of their construction is in fact a small-world principle of high efficiency.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology
  • Models, Chemical
  • Models, Neurological
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Social Support
  • Transportation