Cite as:

Reuven Cohen, Daryush Jonathan Dawid, Mehran Kardar, and Yaneer Bar-Yam, Unusual percolation in simple small-world networks, Physical Review E 79(6) (2009).


We present an exact solution of percolation in a generalized class of Watts-Strogatz graphs defined on a one-dimensional underlying lattice. We find a nonclassical critical point in the limit of the number of long-range bonds in the system going to zero, with a discontinuity in the percolation probability and a divergence in the mean finite-cluster size. We show that the critical behavior falls into one of three regimes depending on the proportion of occupied long-range to unoccupied nearest-neighbor bonds, with each regime being characterized by different critical exponents. The three regimes can be united by a single scaling function around the critical point. These results can be used to identify the number of long-range links necessary to secure connectivity in a communication or transportation chain. As an example, we can resolve the communication problem in a game of “telephone.”