Many natural and engineered complex networks have intricate mesoscopic organization, e.g., the clustering of the constituent nodes into several communities or modules. Often, such modularity is manifested at several different hierarchical levels, where the clusters deﬁned at one level appear as elementary entities at the next higher level. Using a simple model of a hierarchical modular network, we show that such a topological structure gives rise to characteristic time-scale separation between dynamics occurring at different levels of the hierarchy. This generalizes our earlier result for simple modular networks, where fast intramodular and slow intermodular processes were clearly distinguished. Investigating the process of synchronization of oscillators in a hierarchical modular network, we show the existence of as many distinct time-scales as there are hierarchical levels in the system. This suggests a possible functional role of such mesoscopic organization principle in natural systems, viz., in the dynamical separation of events occurring at different spatial scales.
Volume 93 | Issue 6
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