Monday, June 15, 2009

Discover magazine, Infrastructure, The New York Times, and the Fragile Networks book

I am back from the World Science Festival (WSF) in NYC, which concluded yesterday with a science street fair. Photos from the numerous events have been posted on flickr.

There are also photos from the Traffic panel that I took part in last Friday evening.

The World Science Festival, which took place June 10-14, 2009, transformed NYC into a science mecca in which scientific research and exploration were recognized and celebrated. The atmosphere at the events, from the gala to yesterday's science fair, can only be described as electric -- the seats were filled at the various panels and events and I believe that many of those that participated will be looking at the world around us in new ways.

Megan Talkington, a journalist with Discover magazine, wrote a very nice article on the Traffic panel.

Now, it's time to reconnoiter and being on the Traffic panel at the World Science Festival has been the perfect segue for my new book with Patrick Qiang: Fragile Networks: Identifying Vulnerabilities and Synergies in an Uncertain World. Wiley, the book's publisher, has informed us that the book will be "released" this Friday, June 19, with worldwide distribution set for July 2009. Wiley issued a press release on the book in conjunction with my participation in the World Science Festival. The publication of this book is especially timely, given the interest surrounding infrastructure from transportation networks to the Internet and even electric power generation and distribution networks, plus financial networks. Indeed, the New York Times devoted yesterday its entire Sunday magazine to infrastructure. Plus, there have been recent OpEd pieces and major newspapers in the US highlighting the importance of complex networks and infrastructure. Our book provides an original synthesis of infrastructure networks and focuses on unique perspectives and solutions. The beauty and elegance of the book's approaches lie in a systematic analysis of networks, their resilience and robustness, as well as their vulnerability and the associated systemic risk. Fragile Networks identifies how to determine which nodes and links truly matter from economic and engineering perspectives. The book even formalizes mergers and acquisitions in a network framework!