Detecting Hidden Units and Network Size from Perceptible Dynamics

Hauke Haehne, Jose Casadiego, Joachim Peinke, Marc Timme

The number of units of a network dynamical system, its size, arguably constitutes its most fundamental property. Many units of a network, however, are typically experimentally inaccessible such that the network size is often unknown. Here we introduce a \emph{detection matrix }that suitably arranges multiple transient time series from the subset of accessible units to detect network size via matching rank constraints. The proposed method is model-free, applicable across system types and interaction topologies and applies to non-stationary dynamics near fixed points, as well as periodic and chaotic collective motion. Even if only a small minority of units is perceptible and for systems simultaneously exhibiting nonlinearities, heterogeneities and noise, \emph{exact} size detection is feasible. We illustrate applicability for a paradigmatic class of biochemical reaction networks.

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