Entrograms and coarse graining of dynamics on complex networks.
Using an information theoretic point of view, we investigate how a dynamics acting on a network can be coarse grained through the use of graph partitions. Specifically, we are interested in how aggregating the state space of a Markov process according to a partition impacts on the thus obtained lower-dimensional dynamics. We highlight that for a dynamics on a particular graph there may be multiple coarse grained descriptions that capture different, incomparable features of the original process. For instance, a coarse graining induced by one partition may be commensurate with a time-scale separation in the dynamics, while another coarse graining may correspond to a different lower-dimensional dynamics that preserves the Markov property of the original process. Taking inspiration from the literature of Computational Mechanics, we find that a convenient tool to summarise and visualise such dynamical properties of a coarse grained model (partition) is the entrogram. The entrogram gathers certain information-theoretic measures, which quantify how information flows across time steps. These information theoretic quantities include the entropy rate, as well as a measure for the memory contained in the process, i.e., how well the dynamics can be approximated by a first order Markov process. We use the entrogram to investigate how specific macro-scale connection patterns in the state-space transition graph of the original dynamics result in desirable properties of coarse grained descriptions. We thereby provide a fresh perspective on the interplay between structure and dynamics in networks, and the process of partitioning from an information theoretic perspective. We focus on networks that may be approximated by both a core-periphery or a clustered organization, and highlight that each of these coarse grained descriptions can capture different aspects of a Markov process acting on the network.
Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1711.01987