We investigate networks whose evolution is governed by the interaction of a random assembly process and an optimization process. In the first process, new nodes are added one at a time and form connections to randomly selected old nodes. In between node additions, the network is rewired to minimize its path length. For time scales at which neither the assembly nor the optimization processes are dominant, we find a rich variety of complex networks with power law tails in the degree distributions. These networks also exhibit nontrivial clustering, a hierarchical organization, and interesting degree-mixing patterns.

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CSIRO Centre for Complex System Science, F C Pye Laboratory, GPO Box 3023, Clunies Ross Street, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia. E-mail: Markus.Brede@Csiro.au