Network GPS: Navigating Network Dynamics
Visiting Speaker
Past Talk
Baruch Barzel
Visiting Associate Professor
Jul 6, 2022
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Time TBA
11:00 am
177 Huntington Ave
11th floor
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Universal network characteristics, such as the scale-free degree distribution and the small world phenomena, are the bread and butter of network science. But how do we translate such topological findings into an understanding of the system's dynamic behavior: for instance, how does the small world structure impact the patterns of flow in the system? Or how does the presence of hubs affect the system's dynamic timescales? In essence, whether it's communicable diseases, genetic regulation, or the spread of failures in an infrastructure network, these questions touch on the patterns of information spread in the network. It all begins with a local perturbation, such as a sudden disease outbreak or a local power failure, which then propagates to impact all other nodes. The challenge is that the resulting spatio-temporal propagation patterns are diverse and unpredictable - indeed, a zoo of spreading patterns in multiple diverging scales - that seem to be only loosely connected to the network topology. We show that we can tame this zoo by exposing a systematic translation of topological elements into their dynamic outcome, allowing us to navigate the network, and, most importantly, to expose a deep universality behind the seemingly diverse dynamics.

Along the way, we will gain insights on how to distribute drugs during a pandemic, what type of interactions enable a winner-takes-all dynamics, and why cellular networks prefer traffic jams over unobstructed flow.

About the speaker
About the speaker

Prof. Baruch Barzel is a physicist and applied mathematician, director of the Complex Network Dynamics lab at Bar-Ilan University and now visiting the Network Science Institute. His main scientific research areas are statistical physics, complex systems, nonlinear dynamics and network science. Barzel completed his Ph.D. in physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel as a Hoffman Fellow. He then pursued his postdoctoral training at the Center for Complex Network Research at Northeastern University and at the Channing Division of Network Medicine, Harvard Medical School. His research focuses on the dynamic behavior of complex networks, with applications ranging from disease spreading in social networks, to brain, biological systems and infrastructure resilience. Prof. Barzel is the recipient of the Racah Prize (2007), the Rector Prize for Scientific Innovation (2018) and of the Krill Prize on behalf of the Wolf Foundation (2019). Complementing his research activity, Barzel is a frequently invited public lecturer on both science and humanities, presenting a regular segment on the Israel National Radio.