Turalska, Malgorzata; Keith Burghardt; Martin Rohden; Anataram Swami and Raissa M. Dsouza

Large cascades are a common occurrence in many natural and engineered complex systems. In this paper we explore the propagation of cascades across networks using realistic network topologies, such as heterogeneous degree distributions, as well as intra- and interlayer degree correlations. We find that three properties, scale-free degree distribution, internal network assortativity, and cross-network hub-to-hub connections, are all necessary components to significantly reduce the size of large cascades in the Bak-Tang-Wiesenfeld sandpile model. We demonstrate that correlations present in the structure of the multilayer network influence the dynamical cascading process and can prevent failures from spreading across connected layers. These findings highlight the importance of internal and cross-network topology in optimizing robustness of interconnected systems.