Complex Network Metrology

Jean-Loup Guillaume and Matthieu Latapy

Complex Systems 16, pages 83-94, 2005

In order to study some complex networks like the Internet, the Web, social networks or biological networks, one first has to explore them. This gives a partial and biased view of the real object, which is generally assumed to be representative of the whole. However, up to now nobody knows how and how much the measure influences the results. Using the example of the Internet and a rough model of its exploration process, we show that the way a given complex network is explored may strongly influence the observed properties. This leads us to argue for the necessity of developing a science of metrology of complex networks. Its aim would be to study how the partial and biased view of a network relates to the properties of the whole network.