I was reading papers about percolation theory in which I was confused by the expression "self-consistent equation", for example in Temporal percolation in activity-driven networks. I read some references and googled articles. I still do not understand what is meaning of "self-consistent equation", how do I write one, and when should I use one. Any references?

Percolation in random networks can be studied by applying the generating function approach developed in Ref. [31], which is valid assuming the networks are degree uncorrelated. Let us define $G_0(z)$ and $G_1(z)$ as the degree distribution and the excess degree distribution (at time $T$) generating functions, respectively, given by [2].

$$G_0(z)=\sum_k P_T(k)z^k, G_1(z)=\frac{G_0^\prime(z)}{G_0^\prime(1)}$$

The size $S$ of the giant connected component is then given by


where u, the probability that a randomly chosen vertex is not connected to the giant component, satisfies the self-consistent equation


Another paper:

Random graphs with arbitrary degree distributions and their applications

$H_1(x)$ must satisfy a self-consistency condition of the form $$H_1(x)=xq_0+xq_1H_1(x)+xq_2[H_1(x)]^2+...$$

The simplified self-consistent probabilities method for percolation and its application to interdependent networks

Suppose we randomly choose a link and find an arbitrary node $u$, by following this link in an arbitrary direction. The probability that the node $u$ has degree $k'$ is

$$\frac{P(k^\prime)k^\prime}{\sum_kP(k)k}=\frac{P(k^\prime)k^\prime}{\langle k \rangle}$$ For this node $u$ to be part of the giant component, at least one of its other $k-1$ out going links (other than the link we first picked) must lead to the giant component.

By calculating this probability, we can write out the self-consistent equation for $x$:

$$x=\sum_k\frac{P(k)k}{\langle k\rangle} [1-(1-x)^{k-1}]$$

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "self-consistent" refers to an approach called "mean field theory", see for example en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mean_field_theory ; the mean-field theory of percolation is described for example in arxiv.org/abs/cond-mat/9606196 $\endgroup$ Oct 30 '17 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ It seems say that Mean_field_theory is self-consistent. But what is self-consistent. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Dong
    Oct 30 '17 at 13:21
  • $\begingroup$ arxiv.org/abs/cond-mat/9606196 stated that if u in the right hand of M=F(u) depend on left hand of the equation. The equation is self-consistency. So, Does it mean if something is self-consistency, there should be a function like M=F(u)? $\endgroup$
    – Nick Dong
    Oct 30 '17 at 13:35
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "self-consistency" is just jargon for an equation that expresses a quantity $M$ in terms of properties of the medium $F$ which themselves depend on $M$; so $M=F(M)$ is called a self-consistency equation. $\endgroup$ Oct 30 '17 at 14:34

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