Many networks are used to transfer information or goods, in other words, they are navigated. The larger the network, the more difficult it is to navigate efficiently. Indeed, information routing in the Internet faces serious scalability problems due to its rapid growth, recently accelerated by the rise of the Internet of Things. Large networks like the Internet can be navigated efficiently if nodes, or agents, actively forward information based on hidden maps underlying these systems. However, in reality most agents will deny to forward messages, which has a cost, and navigation is impossible. Can we design appropriate incentives that lead to participation and global navigability? Here, we present an evolutionary game where agents share the value generated by successful delivery of information or goods. We show that global navigability can emerge, but its complete breakdown is possible as well. Furthermore, we show that the system tends to self-organize into local clusters of agents who participate in the navigation. This organizational principle can be exploited to favor the emergence of global navigability in the system.
Collective navigation of complex networks: Participatory greedy routing
Kaj-Kolja Kleineberg & Dirk Helbing
Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 2897 (2017)