Complexity Explorer Santa Fe Institute

long-tailed distribution

A statistical distribution characterized by a skewed, or a slow-decaying, tail of  extreme values.  Such distributions are often contrasted with Normal (Gaussian) distributions, which do not have skewed tails.  The significant weight of these extreme values in the population skew the mean away from 'typical' values in both median and mode.  In some cases, long-tailed distributions are characterized by power laws.  In the context of complex networks, long-tailed distributions are commonly found in a network's degree distribution