Non-Markovian recovery makes complex networks more resilient against large-scale failures

Zhao-Hua Lin, Mi Feng, Ming Tang*, Zonghua Liu*, Chen Xu, Pak Ming Hui, Ying-Cheng Lai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Non-Markovian spontaneous recovery processes with a time delay (memory) are ubiquitous in the real world. How does the non-Markovian characteristic affect failure propagation in complex networks? We consider failures due to internal causes at the nodal level and external failures due to an adverse environment, and develop a pair approximation analysis taking into account the two-node correlation. In general, a high failure stationary state can arise, corresponding to large-scale failures that can significantly compromise the functioning of the network. We uncover a striking phenomenon: memory associated with nodal recovery can counter-intuitively make the network more resilient against large-scale failures. In natural systems, the intrinsic non-Markovian characteristic of nodal recovery may thus be one reason for their resilience. In engineering design, incorporating certain non-Markovian features into the network may be beneficial to equipping it with a strong resilient capability to resist catastrophic failures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2490
Number of pages10
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2020


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