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Classification of complex systems by their sample-space scaling exponents

The nature of statistics, statistical mechanics and consequently the thermodynamics of stochastic systems is largely determined by how the number of states W(N) depends on the size N of the system.

Here we propose a scaling expansion of the phasespace volume W(N) of a stochastic system. The corresponding expansion coefficients (exponents) define the universality class the system belongs to. Systems within the same universality class share the same statistics and thermodynamics. For sub-exponentially growing systems such expansions have been shown to exist. By using the scaling expansion this classification can be extended to all stochastic systems, including correlated, constraint and super-exponential systems. The extensive entropy of these systems can be easily expressed in terms of thee scaling exponents. Systems with super-exponential phasespace growth contain important systems, such as magnetic coins that combine combinatorial and structural statistics. We discuss other applications in the statistics of networks, aging, and cascading random walks.


J. Korbel, R. Hanel, S. Thurner, Classification of complex systems by their sample-space scaling exponents, New Journal of Physics 20 (2018) 093007

Jan Korbel

Rudolf Hanel

Stefan Thurner @ Franziska Liehl, President of the Complexity Science Hub

Stefan Thurner

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