Energy scaling and reduction in controlling complex networks

Yu Zhong Chen, Le Zhi Wang, Wen Xu Wang, Ying-Cheng Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Recent works revealed that the energy required to control a complex network depends on the number of driving signals and the energy distribution follows an algebraic scaling law. If one implements control using a small number of drivers, e.g. as determined by the structural controllability theory, there is a high probability that the energy will diverge. We develop a physical theory to explain the scaling behaviour through identification of the fundamental structural elements, the longest control chains (LCCs), that dominate the control energy. Based on the LCCs, we articulate a strategy to drastically reduce the control energy (e.g. in a large number of real-world networks). Owing to their structural nature, the LCCs may shed light on energy issues associated with control of nonlinear dynamical networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number160064
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 20 2016


  • Complex networks
  • Control
  • Scaling law

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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