A type of network that has many nodes (or hubs) with few links and some few nodes with many links. A.L. BARABASI (2002) has shown that many communication systems (whatever the nature of the communication) are scale-free networks. Among them he signals the Internet web, the food webs in ecosystems ("who eats whom"), the so-called "invisible college" among scientists (among them systemists and cyberneticians, we should add) and in biology, the complex grid of biochemical products that sustains any living being.
In this very Encyclopedia, a mapping of the cross-references would probably show out as a scale free network.
As a result of their peculiar topology, scale free networks are very resistant to not excessively extended random failures. On the other hand, any propagation of an effect can be modelized by a scale free network. An example is the AIDS pandemics.
Even one single bearer of the HIV can act as a hub in the network, i.e. as an efficient propagation agent in some specific geographic and social conditions. On the contrary, it seems that "cleaning" hubs in internet, could be a useful strategy against viruses.
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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