Research Papers

Estimating Local Decision-Making Behavior in Complex Evolutionary Systems

[+] Author and Article Information
Zhenghui Sha

Graduate Research Assistant
School of Mechanical Engineering,
Purdue University,
West Lafayette, IN 47907
e-mail: zsha@purdue.edu

Jitesh H. Panchal

Assistant Professor
School of Mechanical Engineering,
Purdue University,
West Lafayette, IN 47907
e-mail: panchal@purdue.edu

In network terminology, a network is composed of nodes and links. A network can be mathematically represented as a graph, where nodes are represented as vertices and the links are represented as edges. Within complex networked systems, a node can refer to individual decision makers or other entities such as organizations that make decisions.

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Automation Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received July 7, 2013; final manuscript received February 4, 2014; published online April 11, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Bernard Yannou.

J. Mech. Des 136(6), 061003 (Apr 11, 2014) (11 pages) Paper No: MD-13-1289; doi: 10.1115/1.4026823 History: Received July 07, 2013; Revised February 04, 2014

Research in systems engineering and design is increasingly focused on complex sociotechnical systems whose structures are not directly controlled by the designers, but evolve endogenously as a result of decisions and behaviors of self-directed entities. Examples of such systems include smart electric grids, Internet, smart transportation networks, and open source product development communities. To influence the structure and performance of such systems, it is crucial to understand the local decisions that result in observed system structures. This paper presents three approaches to estimate the local behaviors and preferences in complex evolutionary systems, modeled as networks, from its structure at different time steps. The first approach is based on the generalized preferential attachment model of network evolution. In the second approach, statistical regression-based models are used to estimate the local decision-making behaviors from consecutive snapshots of the system structure. In the third approach, the entities are modeled as rational decision-making agents who make linking decisions based on the maximization of their payoffs. Within the decision-centric framework, the multinomial logit choice model is adopted to estimate the preferences of decision-making nodes. The approaches are illustrated and compared using an example of the autonomous system (AS) level Internet. The approaches are generally applicable to a variety of complex systems that can be modeled as networks. The insights gained are expected to direct researchers in choosing the most applicable estimation approach to get the node-level behaviors in the context of different scenarios.

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Fig. 1

Five levels and the associated mappings in complex endogenously evolving networks

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Fig. 2

Complementary cumulative degree distribution of networks generated by generalized BA model with different A values

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Fig. 3

Complementary cumulative degree distribution of AS-level Internet on Jan. 5th, 2004

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Fig. 4

Exponent (γ) in the degree distribution versus network size

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Fig. 5

Number of edges (E) versus network size (J)

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Fig. 6

The exponent (γ) of 122 AS-level Internet networks obtained with the maximum likelihood fitting with goodness-of-fit tests based on KS statistic and likelihood ratio

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Fig. 7

Node-level behavior for three network evolution steps

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Fig. 9

Network size versus β in the node's decision model

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Fig. 8

Network size versus α in the node's decision model

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Fig. 11

Network size versus parameter β2 in the node's decision model

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Fig. 12

Comparison of the node-level behavior of AS-level Internet on Jan. 5th, 2004 deduced by three approaches

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Fig. 10

Network size versus parameter β1 in the node's decision model

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Fig. 13

Comparison of complementary cumulative degree distribution between the real network and simulated network with three approaches

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Fig. 14

KL divergence on the degree distribution of simulated networks



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