A wide class of binary-state dynamics on networks—including, for example, the voter model, the Bass diffusion model, and threshold models—can be described in terms of transition rates (spin-flip probabilities) that depend on the number of nearest neighbors in each of the two possible states. High-accuracy approximations for the emergent dynamics of such models on uncorrelated, infinite networks are given by recently developed compartmental models or approximate master equations (AMEs). Pair approximations (PAs) and mean-field theories can be systematically derived from the AME. We show that PA and AME solutions can coincide under certain circumstances, and numerical simulations confirm that PA is highly accurate in these cases. For monotone dynamics (where transitions out of one nodal state are impossible, e.g., susceptible-infected disease spread or Bass diffusion), PA and the AME give identical results for the fraction of nodes in the infected (active) state for all time, provided that the rate of infection depends linearly on the number of infected neighbors. In the more general nonmonotone case, we derive a condition—that proves to be equivalent to a detailed balance condition on the dynamics—for PA and AME solutions to coincide in the limit . This equivalence permits bifurcation analysis, yielding explicit expressions for the critical (ferromagnetic or paramagnetic transition) point of such dynamics, that is closely analogous to the critical temperature of the Ising spin model. Finally, the AME for threshold models of propagation is shown to reduce to just two differential equations and to give excellent agreement with numerical simulations. As part of this work, the Octave or Matlab code for implementing and solving the differential-equation systems is made available for download.
- Received 8 October 2012
- Published 29 April 2013
Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article’s title, journal citation, and DOI.
Published by the American Physical Society