Network Theory: Introduction
What you'll learn
- By the end of taking this course you will have a solid grasp of the formal language of network theory, the standardized language used to model networks within a wide variety of domains
- You will have a solid conceptual background required to approach a more advanced course in the mathematical analysis of networks
- No prior knowledge of mathematical modeling or science is required before taking this course (although it would be of a bonus) all that is required is a good understanding of the English language
Network theory is one of the most exciting and dynamic areas of science today with new breakthroughs coming every few years as we piece together a whole new way of looking at the world, a true paradigm shift that is all about connectivity. The study of network theory is a highly interdisciplinary field, which has emerged as a major topic of interest in various disciplines ranging from physics and mathematics, to biology and computer science to almost all areas of social science.
From the metabolic networks that fuel the cells in our body, to the social networks that shape our lives, networks are everywhere, we see them in the rise of the internet, the flow of global air traffic and in the spread of financial crises, learning to model and design these networks is central to 21st century science and engineering.
This is an introductory course where we present topics in a non-mathematical and intuitive form that should not require any specific prior knowledge of science as the course is designed to be accessible to anyone with an interest in the subject. During the course we will explore all the major topics including:
Networks Overview: In this first section to the course we are going to give an overview to network theory that will also work as an overview to the structure of the course and the content we will be covering. We talk about what we called the network paradigm that is the whole new perspective that network theory offers when we look at the world through the lens of connectivity.
Graph theory: In this second section we lay down the basics of our language for talking about graphs by giving an introduction to graph theory, we talk about a node's degree of connectivity and different metrics for analyzing a nodes degree of centrality and significance within a network
Network Structure: In the third section we explore the overall topology to a network by talking about connectivity, that is how connected the whole network is, diameter, density and clustering all key factors in defining the overall structure to a network.
Types Of Networks: In this section we will be looking at different models to networks by starting out with a randomly generated network we will see how most network are in fact not random but have some distinct structure, here we will be talking about a number of different models such as centralized scale free networks and the small world phenomena.
Network Diffusion & Dynamics: In the last section to the course we touch upon how networks change over time, in particular looking at the different parameter affecting the generation of a network, how something spreads or fails to spread across it and finally wrap-up by talking about network robustness and resilience.
Who this course is for:
- Being an introductory course it is design to be accessible to a broad group of people but will be of particular relevance to those in engineering, science (particularly the social sciences), mathematics or I.T.
Systems Innovation is an online platform dedicated to the area of complex systems and systems change, our mission is to take the world of complexity and make it accessible to all. Systems and complex can be intimidating subjects with many sophisticated concepts, this is why we believe it is important to always start with the most essential, simplest elements of a subject making sure that students come away with a solid understanding of the core concepts behind each area. As Einstein said "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler"
Courses are curated and presented by Joss Colchester. Joss has extensive experience within the domain of complex systems both within academic research(mathematical modeling of complex system + network analysis) and has many years of practical systems engineering experience(designing and developing complex web-based information systems). He has a passion for taking abstract and complex concepts and making them concrete and accessible to as broad an audience as possible by combining clear and effective graphics with well-structured course content.