Understanding the Fundamental Principles Underlying the Survival and Efficient Recovery of Multi-Scale Techno-Social Networks Following a WMD Event (a)   [open pdf - 8MB]

"Motivation: Understanding the fundamental principles underlying the functional robustness of Techno-Social Networks (TSN-s) is a tall, but inevitable challenge. As the society becomes increasingly dependent on infrastructure transport networks, the implications of large-scale disruptions (e.g., due to WMD events) of these systems also become increasingly important. In our ever more connected and interdependent world, small perturbations can have far reaching effects. Large-scale events, such as cascading failures (e.g., the East coast blackout on Aug. 14, 2003) or epidemics (SARS [Severe acute respiratory syndrome] and most recently Ebola) are typical to complex networks, and they serve as warnings about the type of behaviors one can expect in strongly interconnected systems. As a result, we demand ever-increasing predictive power and ability to evaluate the impact of potential failures. There has been, however, little to no mathematical and analytical methodology that would allow a realistic assessment of the consequences of large-scale failures in critical infrastructure TSN-s, largely due to two major aspects of these networks: i) Multivariate and heterogeneous constraints. Real-world TSNs typically operate under a wide range of constraints and limitations imposed both from the technical (physical) side and the social (usage) side. Physical constraints include geographical embeddedness; energy limitations (transportation costs, battery life); device capacity, latency and bandwidth, while usage constraints include software limitations, communication protocols and regulations. To advance empirical applications, network models will need to address these constraints since they strongly influence the response and failure modes of a network in case of WMDs. The dynamics of constrained complex networks, especially if they are directed, weighted and hierarchical are not well understood. The adaptive capabilities, including recovery of TSNs facing major destructive events has been a relatively uncharted territory"

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