Uncovering disassortativity in large scale-free networks

Nelly Litvak, Remco van der Hofstad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


Mixing patterns in large self-organizing networks, such as the Internet, the World Wide Web, and social and biological networks, are often characterized by degree-degree dependencies between neighboring nodes. In this paper, we propose a new way of measuring degree-degree dependencies. One of the problems with the commonly used assortativity coefficient is that in disassortative networks its magnitude decreases with the network size. We mathematically explain this phenomenon and validate the results on synthetic graphs and real-world network data. As an alternative, we suggest to use rank correlation measures such as Spearman’s $\rho$. Our experiments convincingly show that Spearman’s $\rho$ produces consistent values in graphs of different sizes but similar structure, and it is able to reveal strong (positive or negative) dependencies in large graphs. In particular, we discover much stronger negative degree-degree dependencies in Web graphs than was previously thought. Rank correlations allow us to compare the assortativity of networks of different sizes, which is impossible with the assortativity coefficient due to its genuine dependence on the network size. We conclude that rank correlations provide a suitable and informative method for uncovering network mixing patterns.
Original languageEnglish
Article number022801
Number of pages7
JournalPhysical review E: Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • EWI-23283
  • IR-86102
  • METIS-297617


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