Pair correlation functions for identifying spatial correlation in discrete domains

Enrico Gavagnin, Jennifer Owen, Christian Yates

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Identifying and quantifying spatial correlation are important aspects of studying the collective behaviour of multi-agent systems. Pair correlation functions (PCFs) are powerful statistical tools which can provide qualitative and quantitative information about correlation between pairs of agents. Despite the numerous PCFs defined for off-lattice domains, only a few recent studies have considered a PCF for discrete domains. Our work extends the study of spatial correlation in discrete domains by defining a new set of PCFs using two natural and intuitive definitions of distance for a square lattice: the taxicab and uniform metric. We show how these PCFs improve upon previous attempts and compare between the quantitative data acquired. We also extend our definitions of the PCF to other types of regular tessellation which have not been studied before, including hexagonal, triangular and cuboidal. Finally, we provide a comprehensive PCF for any tessellation and metric allowing investigation of spatial correlation in irregular lattices for which recognising correlation is less intuitive.
Original languageEnglish
Article number 062104
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2018


  • Pair correlation function
  • on-lattice
  • spatial correlation
  • agent-based model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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