Networks Within Networks: Optimization at Massive Scale

On today’s episode of “The Interview” with The Next Platform we talk about the growing problem of networks within networks (within networks) and what that means for future algorithms and systems that will support smart cities, smart grids, and other highly complex and interdependent optimization problems.

Our guest on this audio interview episode (player below) is Hadi Amini, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon who has focused on the interdependency of many factors for power grids and smart cities in a recent book series on these and related interdependent network topics. Here, as in the podcast, the focus is on the theory and application of interdependent networks, optimization methods to deal with the computational complexity involved with smart cities as the main use case.

We also consider the influential networks including power and energy networks, transportation networks, wireless sensor networks, communication networks, water networks, and societal networks. According to Amini, “Our reliance on these networks as global platforms for sustainable cities and societies has led to the need for developing novel means to deal with arising issues. The considerable scale of such networks brings a large variety of computational complexity and optimization challenges.”

A planned follow-up to this topic will look at the high performance computing and cloud hardware required for distributed computing efforts bold enough to support smart cities and more complex energy grids and transportation networks. While more of Amini’s work is focused on the optimization, understanding what the problem will involve from a hardware investment standpoint further rounds out the bigger picture of viability for ideas to make cities, grids, and transport networks more efficient, scalable, and safe.

More on Hadi Amini and his work can be found here http://www.hadiamini.com/publications

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