Evolutionary games on multilayer networks: a colloquium

Zhen Wang, Lin Wang, Attila Szolnoki, Matjaž Perc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

447 Citations (Scopus)


Networks form the backbone of many complex systems, ranging from the Internet to human societies. Accordingly, not only is the range of our interactions limited and thus best described and modeled by networks, it is also a fact that the networks that are an integral part of such models are often interdependent or even interconnected. Networks of networks or multilayer networks are therefore a more apt description of social systems. This colloquium is devoted to evolutionary games on multilayer networks, and in particular to the evolution of cooperation as one of the main pillars of modern human societies. We first give an overview of the most significant conceptual differences between single-layer and multilayer networks, and we provide basic definitions and a classification of the most commonly used terms. Subsequently, we review fascinating and counterintuitive evolutionary outcomes that emerge due to different types of interdependencies between otherwise independent populations. The focus is on coupling through the utilities of players, through the flow of information, as well as through the popularity of different strategies on different network layers. The colloquium highlights the importance of pattern formation and collective behavior for the promotion of cooperation under adverse conditions, as well as the synergies between network science and evolutionary game theory.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Physical Journal B
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 15 2015


  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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