Glassy nature of hierarchical organizations

Maryam Zamani, Tamas Vicsek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


The question of why and how animal and human groups form temporarily stable hierarchical organizations has long been a great challenge from the point of quantitative interpretations. The prevailing observation/consensus is that a hierarchical social or technological structure is optimal considering a variety of aspects. Here we introduce a simple quantitative interpretation of this situation using a statistical mechanics-type approach. We look for the optimum of the efficiency function Eeff =1/NΣijJijaiaj with Jij denoting the nature of the interaction between the units i and j and a i standing for the ability of member i to contribute to the efficiency of the system. Notably, this expression for Eeff has a similar structure to that of the energy as defined for spin-glasses. Unconventionally, we assume that Jij-s can have the values 0 (no interaction), +1 and-1; furthermore, a direction is associated with each edge. The essential and novel feature of our approach is that instead of optimizing the state of the nodes of a pre-defined network, we search for extrema for given ai-s in the complex efficiency landscape by finding locally optimal network topologies for a given number of edges of the subgraphs considered.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1382
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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