Heterogeneity in oscillator networks: are smaller worlds easier to synchronize?

Phys Rev Lett. 2003 Jul 4;91(1):014101. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.91.014101. Epub 2003 Jul 3.


Small-world and scale-free networks are known to be more easily synchronized than regular lattices, which is usually attributed to the smaller network distance between oscillators. Surprisingly, we find that networks with a homogeneous distribution of connectivity are more synchronizable than heterogeneous ones, even though the average network distance is larger. We present numerical computations and analytical estimates on synchronizability of the network in terms of its heterogeneity parameters. Our results suggest that some degree of homogeneity is expected in naturally evolved structures, such as neural networks, where synchronizability is desirable.