H. Eugene Stanley

Boston University


H. Eugene Stanley

Friday 13th June 2014, 9:00am

WEB | http://polymer.bu.edu/hes/

TITLE | Switching without Switches and the Fragility of Interdependency: Some Applications to Failure Cascades in Economics

ABSTRACT | Recent disasters ranging from abrupt financial “flash crashes” and large-scale power outages to sudden death among the elderly dramatically exemplify the fact that the most dangerous vulnerability is hiding in the many interdependencies among different networks. In the past year, we have quantified failures in interconnected networks, and demonstrated the need to consider mutually dependent network properties in designing resilient systems. Specifically, we have uncovered new laws governing the nature of switching phenomena in coupled networks, and found that phenomena that are continuous “second order” phase transitions in isolated networks become discontinuous abrupt “first order” transitions in interdependent networks. We discuss the network basis for understanding sudden death in the elderly, and the possibility that financial “flash crashes” are not unlike the catastrophic first-order failure incidents occurring in coupled networks [1].

This work was supported by DTRA, ONR, and NSF, and was carried out in collaboration with a number of students and colleagues, including but not limited to S. V. Buldyrev, S. Havlin, D. Y. Kenett, A. Majdandzic, H. S. Moat, B. Podobnik and T. Preis.

1. A. Majdandzic, B. Podobnik, S. V. Buldyrev, D. Y. Kenett, S. Havlin, and H. E. Stanley, “Spontaneous Recovery in Dynamical Networks,” Nature Physics 10, 34 (2014).

BIOGRAPHY | H. Eugene Stanley is an American physicist and University Professor at Boston University. He has made seminal contributions to statistical physics and is one of the pioneers of interdisciplinary science. His current research focuses on understanding the anomalous behavior of liquid water, but he had made fundamental contributions to complex systems, such as quantifying correlations among the constituents of the Alzheimer brain, and quantifying fluctuations in noncoding and coding DNA sequences, interbeat intervals of the healthy and diseased heart. He is one of the founding fathers of econophysics.