Bounds on the Average Sensitivity of Nested Canalizing Functions

Johannes Georg Klotz, Reinhard Heckel, Steffen Schober

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Nested canalizing Boolean functions (NCF) play an important role in biologically motivated regulatory networks and in signal processing, in particular describing stack filters. It has been conjectured that NCFs have a stabilizing effect on the network dynamics. It is well known that the average sensitivity plays a central role for the stability of (random) Boolean networks. Here we provide a tight upper bound on the average sensitivity of NCFs as a function of the number of relevant input variables. As conjectured in literature this bound is smaller than 4/3. This shows that a large number of functions appearing in biological networks belong to a class that has low average sensitivity, which is even close to a tight lower bound.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere64371
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
StatePublished - 31 May 2013
Externally publishedYes


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