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Network Science and Predictive Models

Nodes and networks

I cannot help but be riveted by the concept of , actually an emerging scientific discipline that combines interacting physical, informational, biological, cognitive, and social networks… and in a way that scares me a little bit. It seems that the Department of Defense shares my fascination, but not my hesitations. The Pentagon is devoting resources (now up to $7.5 million in research grants) to what it deems a priority area of investigation and research in the effort to understand complex and variable networks. This is directly related to how the Pentagon and related constituents can then work on an understanding of the structure of the diffuse networks employed by our nation’s enemies. An underlying goal of this research is the ability to anticipate who might join such a network, which takes threat assessment to an entirely different level. So, network science would seem to be a holy grail, of sorts, for the abstract goal of developing predictive modeling. Again, very interesting and very scary, and surprising that it only garners $7.5 million currently. I suspect that will be increasing once efficacy is established. How does the military view network science:

“Initiation of a field of network science would be appropriate to provide a body of rigorous results that would improve the predictability of the engineering design of complex networks and also speed up basic research in a variety of applications areas.”

That’s from a , which I have excerpted from a post at , Wired’s national security blog that pretty much gets my attention every day, and where I first came across this story.

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