Networks are everywhere. Examples include the internet on which you are reading this text, the power grid that delivers electricity to your home, the food webs which form the backbones of ecosystems, the social networks which allows opinions, ideas and diseases to spread among humans and the networks of biochemical reactions that sustain all life on earth.
In this course we will understand how network thinking can be used to make sense of the many complex processes around us. Along the way we will be drawing on ideas from Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Ecology and Sociology.
The lectures will revolve around real world examples that pose specific challenges. These range from finding the shortest path to a destination to analyzing the stability of complex ecosystems. We will then discover broadly applicable methods to overcome these challenges and in every case we will be able to apply the methods to small examples with just pen and paper.
The course will equip you with a set of tools that you can use to understand complex real world systems. We will build up an understanding why these tools work and which lines of thinking could have led to their discovery. In this way we will learn how to think about complexity to develop new tools and overcome new challenges.
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