Signatures of small-world and scale-free properties in large computer programs

Alessandro P.S. de Moura, Ying-Cheng Lai, Adilson E. Motter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A large computer program is typically divided into many hundreds or even thousands of smaller units, whose logical connections define a network in a natural way. This network reflects the internal structure of the program, and defines the “information flow” within the program. We show that (1) due to its growth in time this network displays a scale-free feature in that the probability of the number of links at a node obeys a power-law distribution, and (2) as a result of performance optimization of the program the network has a small-world structure. We believe that these features are generic for large computer programs. Our work extends the previous studies on growing networks, which have mostly been for physical networks, to the domain of computer software.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4
Number of pages1
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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