The Network Science Impact Center

Creating novel mathematical and Big Data tools computational models and simulations to enhance the resilience of critical networks and infrastructures.

Network Science

Research Groups: Physics, Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Science

We inhabit a world more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. Today, an Ebola breakout in Africa can rapidly spread across the globe; one disaster on a highway or water source can break the flow of transportation or drinking water for a city; and an attack on infrastructure, whether physical or cyber, can cut off power, communications, or finances for millions.

Bar-Ilan’s network scientists uncover weaknesses in real-worldsystems and find the best ways to make them more stable and resilient.

They have a record of high-impact R&D improving the resilience of networks including power grids, ecosystems, populations vulnerable to diseases, gene and protein networks, and more.

The Path Forward

The scientists of the Network Science Impact Center create new mathematics, advanced big data analytics, sophisticated computational models, and high-powered computer simulations. Moreover, they incorporate their discoveries into automated computer systems so they can quickly use their tools to help states, corporations, and others aiming to avoid the next cascading collapse of their networks.

Although each of these systems differs from the others in its composition, scale, and function, all can be described using a universal mathematical language. Each part of the system — whether an intersection in a road system, a gene in a gene network, an organ in the body—can be represented mathematically as a “node,” and the relationships between the nodes — the flow of traffic between intersections, the way one gene influences another, the way one organ is impacted by the actions of another — are represented as “links.”This mathematical simplification is extremely powerful; it’s what allows an impact center with one scientific focus to address so many different areas of application.

The Champions

Prof. Shlomo Havlin, a leading figure in the development of network science, just won Israel’s most prestigious award, the Israel Prize! The prize committee wrote of his work: “Prof. Shlomo Havlin is one of the pioneers of some fields in statistical physics and its implications for complex systems in different areas. Prof. Havlin deals with the application of knowledge in physics to the broadest disciplines such as social networks, technological networks, economic networks, physiological systems and DNA function. Of all Israeli scientists, Prof. Havlin is the most cited by scientists around the world. He devotes his time and energies to guide young scientists and graduate students and contributes greatly to the creation of scientific ties between the State of Israel and the world.”

Prof. Reuven Cohen, an expert in network structure, is among the pioneers of network science. He and Prof. Havlin introduced the concept of network resilience, applied it to various infrastructure networks, and authored a classic textbook in the field. Prof. Cohen’s contribution to the study of infrastructure and social networks has been acknowledged by the international community, winning him for example, the German Physical Society prize for Social and Economic Physics for developing efficient immunization strategies to mitigate disease spreading.

Prof. Amir Leshem has a diverse background, from industry to academia, and is an expert in social and technological networks. He has published numerous papers on the functionality and dynamics of communication networks, as well as on the dynamics of social systems, covering all aspects, from theory and numerical analysis to data collection and experimentation. His experience in the industrial sector is crucial in transforming the team’s work into applications.

Dr. Baruch Barzel developed different formalisms to treat nonlinear dynamics on networks, with a specific focus on disease spreading and on the functionality of sub-cellular systems in biology. In the past two years, he has published at least six papers in Nature journals on the fundamental properties of dynamics on complex networks.

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