Luís A. Nunes Amaral

co-Director, Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems
Professor of Chemical & Biological Engineering
Professor of Physics & Astronomy (by courtesy)
Professor of Medicine (by courtesy)

Chemical & Biological Engineering
2145 Sheridan Road (Room E136)
EvanstonIL 60208US
Phone: (847) 491-7850


Recently, we have presented the first exhaustive analysis of the world-wide airport network. Two important results of that study are that: (i) the world-wide airport network is a small-world network with power-law decaying degree and betweenness centrality distributions; (ii) the most connected cities (largest degree) are typically not the most central cities (largest betweenness centrality). This second finding is particularly significant because of results demonstrating that nodes with high betweenness tend to play a more important role in keeping networks connected than those with high degree. Here, we investigate if current network models can explain this finding and we show that they cannot. Thus, we propose a new model that explains this behavior in terms of the geo-political constraints that affect the growth of the airport network. We further hypothesize that in other infrastructures, affected by similar geo-political constraints, critical locations might not coincide with highly-connected hubs.