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© 2019 Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Consider a particle whose position evolves along the edges of a network. One definition for the displacement of a particle is the length of the shortest path on the network between the current and initial positions of the particle. Such a definition fails to incorporate information of the actual path the particle traversed. In this work we consider another definition for the displacement of a particle on networked topologies. Using this definition, which we term the winding distance, we demonstrate that for Brownian particles, confinement to a network can induce a transition in the mean squared displacement from diffusive to ballistic behavior, \langle x2(t)\rangle \propto t2 for long times. A multiple scales approach is used to derive a macroscopic evolution equation for the displacement of a particle and uncover a topological condition for whether this transition in the mean squared displacement will occur. Furthermore, for networks satisfying this topological condition, we identify a prediction of the timescale upon which the displacement transitions to long-time behavior. Finally, we extend the investigation of displacement on networks to a class of anomalously diffusive transport processes, where we find that the mean squared displacement at long times is affected by both network topology and the character of the transport process.

Original publication




Journal article


SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics

Publication Date





1892 - 1915