A system model of three-body interactions in complex networks: Consensus and conservation

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Networked complex systems in a wide range of physics, biology and social sciences involve synergy among multiple agents beyond pairwise interactions. Higher-order mathematical structures such as hypergraphs have been increasingly popular in modelling and analysis of complex dynamical behaviours. Here, we study a simple three-body consensus model, which favourably incorporates higher-order network interactions, higher-order dimensional states, the group reinforcement effect and the social homophily principle. The model features asymmetric roles of acting agents using modulating functions. We analytically establish sufficient conditions for nonlinear consensus and conservation of states for agents with both discrete-time and continuous-time dynamics. We show that higher-order interactions encoded in three-body edges give rise to consensus and conservation for systems with gravity-like and Heaviside-like modulating functions. Furthermore, we illustrate our theoretical results with numerical simulations and examine the system convergence time through a network depreciation process.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20210564
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2258
Early online date9 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2022


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