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Pages 61-62
First published 2 September 2013

Self-organized game dynamics in complex networks

Flavio L. Pinheiro, Vítor V. Vasconcelos, Francisco C. Santos, Jorge M. Pacheco


Complex networks are ubiquitous and known to profoundly affect the processes that take place on them. From a theoretical perspective, some of the most complex processes studied to date, occurring on complex networks, are related with behavioural dynamics and decision-making, often described by means of social dilemmas of cooperation. Among these, the Prisoner's Dilemma (PD) provides the most popular metaphor of such dilemmas, given that its only Nash equilibrium is mutual defection, despite mutual cooperation providing higher returns—thus the dilemma. We may also assume a population dynamics (evolutionary) approach to game theory where agents revise their behaviour based on the perceived success of others, creating a gradient of selection which dictates how cooperation self-organizes through time. Evolutionary Games provide one of the most sophisticated examples of complex dynamics in which the role of the underlying network topology proves ubiquitous. For instance, when cooperation is modeled as a prisoner's dilemma game, cooperation may emerge (or not) depending on how the population is networked (Santos et al., 2012a).