Activities of enterprises typically involve multiple networks: ranging from (1) transportation of energy, materials, and components to (2) power grids, supply chains, and control of transportation assets, and to (3) communication and data networks. The networks’ activities are correlated because they are invoked to support a common task, and the networks are interdependent because the characteristics of one determine the inputs or constraints for another. They are becoming even more correlated and interdependent as they shift more and more of their controls to be information intensive and data network-based.
While this “networks of networks” concept enables enormous efficiency and flexibility (both technical and economical) it also has a dark side — by requiring increasingly complex design processes, it creates vastly increased opportunities for potentially catastrophic failures, to the point where national and international critical infrastructure systems are at risk to large-scale disruptions due to intentional attacks, unintentional (but potentially devastating) side effects, the possibility of (not necessarily deliberate) large cascading events, or their growing dependence on the Internet as a “central nervous system”.
This trend in network evolution poses serious questions about the operation and reliability of these critical infrastructure systems in the absence of an adequate theory. The purpose of this workshop is to bring together domain experts from the fields of engineering, biology, mathematics, and critical infrastructure protection to develop the foundation of a nascent theory in support of the networks of networks concept. In particular, we will use the Internet as a case study to illustrate how early verbal observations and arguments with deep engineering insight have led via an interplay with mathematics and measurements to increasingly formal statements and powerful theoretical developments that can be viewed as of what we envision to ultimately become a full-fledged “theory” for Internet-like systems.
Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):