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The Structure of Borders in a Small World Christian Thiemann1,2

Summary: The Structure of Borders in a Small World
Christian Thiemann1,2
, Fabian Theis3,4
, Daniel Grady1
, Rafael Brune1,2
, Dirk Brockmann1,5
1 Department of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, United States of America, 2 Max Planck Institute for Dynamics
and Self-Organization, Gošttingen, Germany, 3 Institute for Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, Helmholtz Center Munich, Neuherberg, Germany, 4 Department of
Mathematics, University of Technology Munich, Garching, Germany, 5 Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems, Evanston, Illinois, United States of America
Territorial subdivisions and geographic borders are essential for understanding phenomena in sociology, political science,
history, and economics. They influence the interregional flow of information and cross-border trade and affect the diffusion
of innovation and technology. However, it is unclear if existing administrative subdivisions that typically evolved decades
ago still reflect the most plausible organizational structure of today. The complexity of modern human communication, the
ease of long-distance movement, and increased interaction across political borders complicate the operational definition
and assessment of geographic borders that optimally reflect the multi-scale nature of today's human connectivity patterns.
What border structures emerge directly from the interplay of scales in human interactions is an open question. Based on a
massive proxy dataset, we analyze a multi-scale human mobility network and compute effective geographic borders
inherent to human mobility patterns in the United States. We propose two computational techniques for extracting these


Source: Amaral, Luis A.N. - Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Northwestern University


Collections: Physics; Biology and Medicine