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The physics of higher-order interactions in complex systems

Complex networks have become the main paradigm for modelling the dynamics of interacting systems. However, networks are intrinsically limited to describing pairwise interactions, whereas real-world systems are often characterized by higher-order interactions involving groups of three or more units. Higher-order structures, such as hypergraphs and simplicial complexes, are therefore a better tool to map the real organization of many social, biological and man-made systems.

Here, we highlight recent evidence of collective behaviours induced by higher-order interactions, and we outline three key challenges for the physics of higher-order systems.


F. Battiston, E. Amico, A. Barrat, G. Bianconi, G. Ferraz de Arruda, B. Franceschiello, I. Iacopini, S. Kéfi, V. Latora, Y. Moreno, M.M. Murray, T.P. Peixoto, F. Vaccarino, G. Petri, The physics of higher-order interactions in complex systems, Nature Physics Vol 17 (2021) 1093–1098.

Vito Latora

Yamir Moreno

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