Self-organization towards optimally interdependent networks by means of coevolution

Zhen Wang, Attila Szolnoki, Matjaz Perc

Coevolution between strategy and network structure is established as a means to arrive at optimal conditions for resolving social dilemmas. Yet recent research highlights that the interdependence between networks may be just as important as the structure of an individual network. We therefore introduce coevolution of strategy and network interdependence to study whether it can give rise to elevated levels of cooperation in the prisoner's dilemma game. We show that the interdependence between networks self-organizes so as to yield optimal conditions for the evolution of cooperation. Even under extremely adverse conditions cooperators can prevail where on isolated networks they would perish. This is due to the spontaneous emergence of a two-class society, with only the upper class being allowed to control and take advantage of the interdependence. Spatial patterns reveal that cooperators, once arriving to the upper class, are much more competent than defectors in sustaining compact clusters of followers. Indeed, the asymmetric exploitation of interdependence confers to them a strong evolutionary advantage that may resolve even the toughest of social dilemmas.

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