Physics Professor Alessandro Vespignani and Political Science Professor David Lazer have been awarded a $1.8M NSF interdisciplinary grant from NSF to study independent networks in the context of socio-technical systems. Real networks communicate with each other and may exchange information, or, more importantly, may depend on one another for their proper operation. For complex coupled interdependent networks, the most basic assumptions that network theory has relied on for single networks are altered.
This research project will study microscopic processes ruling the dynamics of interdependent networks, especially when social components are included in the system. It will also attempt to define new mathematical models and foundational theories for the analysis of the robustness/resilience and contagion/diffusive dynamics of interdependent networks.
Understanding the interdependence of networks and how this affects the system robustness, and the structural and functional behavior, is crucial for properly modeling many real world systems and applications. Professors Vespignani and Lazer, along with colleagues from Boston University, are working to better understand these complex interacting networks upon which modern society depends so crucially.