Implications of Scale Free Structure

Understanding a network's scale-free structure has led to interesting results in diverse areas. For example, people believed initially that the best way to curb spread of a computer virus was to provide all machines with antiviral software to make them resist infection, but studies of random graphs of the Internet indicate that antiviral software in an increasing numbers of machines had a cumulative effect that does not occur in the scale-free setting of the internet. In scale-free settings, adding antiviral software to machines at a relatively small number of hubs of the scale-free system can stop spread of the virus completely.

This insight is analogous to the impression that a network of human sexual partners appears to be scale-free as well. We may slow or stop the spread of AIDS by treating people at the highly connected hubs, in other words, people having the most sexual contacts. So by considering a shrinking system such as a hemocoel to be a system of hubs simplifies thinking about how to shrink the system and how the system communicates with itself.

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