Complexity, Networks, and Resilience

Interdependence and Security in the 21st Century

Michael Dillon
Release Date: December 1, 2005

The 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States highlighted the vulnerabilities to which networked societies are exposed. The attacks exploited rather than caused those vulnerabilities. When networks break down or are subject to attack, problems can cascade throughout infrastructure, information and financial systems, and infectious disease can disseminate rapidly. In these circumstances, security becomes a matter of resilience: that is, the ability of systems to respond in ways that rectify themselves or rapidly contain the consequences of the accident or deliberate disruption.

This edited volume includes essays from experts in the natural, engineering and management sciences, together with those from health protection and finance. They explore the dynamics of complex networks, the danger that our capacity to manage them is being overwhelmed and what might be done to render them governable, adaptable and resilient.

Contributors include Alessandro Vespignani (Laboratoire de Physique Théorique, Université de Paris-Sud), Tom O’Rourke (Cornell University), William E Kastenberg (University of California at Berkeley), Charles R Penn (UK Health Protection Agency), Dilys Morgan (UK Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre), David Hutchison (Lancaster University), John Trundle (Bank of England) and Philip Bougen (The Robert O Anderson School of Management, University of New Mexico).