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Inter-dependent networks stress test

Date:
August 28, 2014
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
A new study relies on a complex systems modelling approach to analyze inter-dependent networks and improve their reliability in the event of failure. Energy production systems are good examples of complex systems. Their infrastructure equipment requires ancillary sub-systems structured like a network-including water for cooling, transport to supply fuel, and ICT systems for control and management.
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Impact of network topologies.
Credit: © Fu et al.

A new study relies on a complex systems modelling approach to analyse inter-dependent networks and improve their reliability in the event of failure.

Energy production systems are good examples of complex systems. Their infrastructure equipment requires ancillary sub-systems structured like a network-including water for cooling, transport to supply fuel, and ICT systems for control and management. Every step in the network chain is interconnected with a wider network and they are all mutually dependent. A team of UK-based scientists has studied various aspects of inter-network dependencies, not previously explored. The findings have been published in The European Physical Journal B by Gaihua Fu from Newcastle University, UK, and colleagues. These findings could have implications for maximising the reliability of such networks when facing natural and human-made hazards.

Previous research has focused on studying single, isolated systems, not interconnected ones. However, understanding inter-connectedness is key, since failure of a component in one network can cause problems across the entire system, which can result in a cascading failure across multiple sectors, as in the energy infrastructure example quoted above.

In this study, interdependent systems are modelled as a network of networks..The model characterises interdependencies in terms of direction, redundancy, and extent of inter-network connectivity.

Fu and colleagues found that the severity of cascading failure increases significantly when inter-network connections are one-directional. They also found that the degree of redundancy-which is linked to the number of connections-in inter-network connections can have a significant effect on the robustness of systems, depending on the direction of inter-network connections.

The authors observed that the interdependencies between many real-world systems have characteristics that are consistent with the less reliable systems they tested, and therefore they are likely to operate near their critical thresholds. Finally, ways of cost-effectively reducing the vulnerability of inter-dependent networks are suggested.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gaihua Fu, Richard Dawson, Mehdi Khoury, Seth Bullock. Interdependent networks: vulnerability analysis and strategies to limit cascading failure. The European Physical Journal B, 2014; 87 (7) DOI: 10.1140/epjb/e2014-40876-y

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Springer Science+Business Media. "Inter-dependent networks stress test." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140828115246.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2014, August 28). Inter-dependent networks stress test. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140828115246.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Inter-dependent networks stress test." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140828115246.htm (accessed August 27, 2015).

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