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  1. Abstract

    Engineering multilayer networks that efficiently connect sets of points in space is a crucial task in all practical applications that concern the transport of people or the delivery of goods. Unfortunately, our current theoretical understanding of the shape of such optimal transport networks is quite limited. Not much is known about how the topology of the optimal network changes as a function of its size, the relative efficiency of its layers, and the cost of switching between layers. Here, we show that optimal networks undergo sharp transitions from symmetric to asymmetric shapes, indicating that it is sometimes better to avoid serving a whole area to save on switching costs. Also, we analyze the real transportation networks of the cities of Atlanta, Boston, and Toronto using our theoretical framework and find that they are farther away from their optimal shapes as traffic congestion increases.

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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  3. Abstract The 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics recognized the fundamental role of complex systems in the natural sciences. In order to celebrate this milestone, this editorial presents the point of view of the editorial board of JPhys Complexity on the achievements, challenges, and future prospects of the field. To distinguish the voice and the opinion of each editor, this editorial consists of a series of editor perspectives and reflections on few selected themes. A comprehensive and multi-faceted view of the field of complexity science emerges. We hope and trust that this open discussion will be of inspiration for future research on complex systems. 
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  4. Abstract

    Statistical laws of information avalanches in social media appear, at least according to existing empirical studies, not robust across systems. As a consequence, radically different processes may represent plausible driving mechanisms for information propagation. Here, we analyze almost one billion time-stamped events collected from several online platforms – including Telegram, Twitter and Weibo – over observation windows longer than ten years, and show that the propagation of information in social media is a universal and critical process. Universality arises from the observation of identical macroscopic patterns across platforms, irrespective of the details of the specific system at hand. Critical behavior is deduced from the power-law distributions, and corresponding hyperscaling relations, characterizing size and duration of avalanches of information. Statistical testing on our data indicates that a mixture of simple and complex contagion characterizes the propagation of information in social media. Data suggest that the complexity of the process is correlated with the semantic content of the information that is propagated.

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