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The European Physical Journal B

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 147–162 | Cite as

Complex networks

Augmenting the framework for the study of complex systems
  • L. A. N. AmaralEmail author
  • J. M. Ottino
Article

Abstract.

We briefly describe the toolkit used for studying complex systems: nonlinear dynamics, statistical physics, and network theory. We place particular emphasis on network theory--the topic of this special issue--and its importance in augmenting the framework for the quantitative study of complex systems. In order to illustrate the main issues, we briefly review several areas where network theory has led to significant developments in our understanding of complex systems. Specifically, we discuss changes, arising from network theory, in our understanding of (i) the Internet and other communication networks, (ii) the structure of natural ecosystems, (iii) the spread of diseases and information, (iv) the structure of cellular signalling networks, and (v) infrastructure robustness. Finally, we discuss how complexity requires both new tools and an augmentation of the conceptual framework--including an expanded definition of what is meant by a “quantitative prediction.”

Keywords

Statistical Physic Complex System Communication Network Conceptual Framework Nonlinear Dynamic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Biological EngineeringNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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