Thursday, April 1, 2010

Networks of Networks, Connected Networks, Supernetworks

While I was at the SBP 2010 conference that just got over and took place at the National Institutes of Health (please refer to my earlier blog posts), I thought that it would be worthwhile to provide a link to an invited chapter that I wrote on Supernetworks that appeared in the Handbook of Optimization in Telecommunications (HOT), edited by Professor Panos M. Pardalos of the University of Florida and Dr. Mauricio G. C. Resende of AT&T Bell Labs. The volume was published by Springer in (2006), and my chapter appears as pages 1073-1119.

The reason that I am posting a link to my article on Supernetworks is that, although many researchers and practitioners are captivated by the topic of networks, some seem to think that the subject is fairly recent. The issue is that it gets discovered by different disciplines, so it seems "new" to those who may not be familiar with the history of science and networks. Of course, each discipline may have a specific focus but one needs to give credit where credit is due.

The rigorous formulation of network problems as mathematical problems dates back centuries and even Monge who worked for Napoleon constructed a transportation network optimization model whereas Quesnay back in 1758 depicted the circular flow of financial funds in an economy as a network! I heard a speaker at the conference that I was at mention that sociologists were the major contributors to network formalisms and in the past decade it has been the physicists. Such statements ignore the decades of contributions of operations researchers and management scientists (yes, going back to World War II) and even the earlier work of economists. So, please have a look at Supernetworks, Anna Nagurney, in Handbook of Optimization in Telecommunications, P. M. Pardalos and M. G. C. Resende, Editors, Springer (2006) pp 1073-1119. (Please use Internet Explorer if you have problems with Mozilla.)

Plus, there is growing interest in what are being called "connected networks." Dr. June Dong and I wrote the book, Supernetworks: Decision-Making for the Information Age, back in 2002 and supernetworks is a term that applies to connected networks as well as to networks of networks.