Evolution of Cooperation on Stochastic Dynamical Networks

B. Wu, D. Zhou, Q. Luo, L. Wang and A. Traulsen
Plos One 5(6), e11187, 2010.

Cooperative behavior that increases the fitness of others at a cost to oneself can be promoted by natural selection only in the presence of an additional mechanism. One such mechanism is based on population structure, which can lead to clustering of cooperating agents. Recently, the focus has turned to complex dynamical population structures such as social networks, where the nodes represent individuals and links represent social relationships. We investigate how the dynamics of a social network can change the level of cooperation in the network. Individuals either update their strategies by imitating their partners or adjust their social ties. For the dynamics of the network structure, a random link is selected and breaks with a probability determined by the adjacent individuals. Once it is broken, a new one is established. This linking dynamics can be conveniently characterized by a Markov chain in the configuration space of an ever-changing network of interacting agents. Our model can be analytically solved provided the dynamics of links proceeds much faster than the dynamics of strategies. This leads to a simple rule for the evolution of cooperation: The more fragile links between cooperating players and non-cooperating players are (or the more robust links between cooperators are), the more likely cooperation prevails. Our approach may pave the way for analytically investigating coevolution of strategy and structure.

This paper in PLoS One

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