Multi-body Interactions and Non-Linear Consensus Dynamics on Networked Systems


Lambiotte, R
Mellor, A
Neuhäuser, L

Publication Date: 

1 March 2020


Physical Review E: Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics

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Multi-body interactions can reveal higher-order dynamical effects that are not captured by traditional two-body network models. In this work, we derive and analyse models for consensus dynamics on hypergraphs, where nodes interact in groups rather than in pairs. Our work reveals that multi-body dynamical effects that go beyond rescaled pairwise interactions can only appear if the interaction function is non-linear, regardless of the underlying multi-body structure. As a practical application, we introduce a specific non-linear function to model three-body consensus, which incorporates reinforcing group effects such as peer pressure. Unlike consensus processes on networks, we find that the resulting dynamics can cause shifts away from the average system state. The nature of these shifts depends on a complex interplay between the distribution of the initial states, the underlying structure and the form of the interaction function. By considering modular hypergraphs, we discover state-dependent, asymmetric dynamics between polarised clusters where multi-body interactions make one cluster dominate the other.

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Publication Type: 

Journal Article