Traversal Times for Random Walks on Small-World Networks

V. M. Kenkre
Paul Ernest Parris, Missouri University of Science and Technology

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We study the mean traversal time tau for a class of random walks on Newman-Watts small-world networks, in which steps around the edge of the network occur with a transition rate F that is different from the rate f for steps across small-world connections. when f>>F, the mean time tau to traverse the network exhibits a transition associated with percolation of the random graph (i.e., small-world) part of the network, and a collapse of the data onto a universal curve. This transition was not observed in earlier studies in which equal transition rates were assumed for all allowed steps. We develop a simple self-consistent effective-medium theory and show that it gives a quantitatively correct description of the traversal time in all parameter regimes except the immediate neighborhood of the transition, as is characteristic of most effective-medium theories.