Neil Johnson

University of Miami


Neil Johnson

Thursday 12th June 2014, 9:00am


TITLE | The Dark Side: Dynamics of Clandestine Social Networks

ABSTRACT | Even with ‘big’ data about a given social network, it is very hard to predict what behaviors might emerge in the future. However this problem becomes even more challenging for clandestine networks in which adaptation to survive combined with limited hierarchical control can generate a highly active temporal evolution. In this talk I analyze three complementary examples of such dark temporal networks — online activity surrounding the civil unrest ‘Springs’ in Latin America during 2013-2014, offline networks generating anti-government violence during the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland during the period 1970-1995, and the recent explosion of networks of networks in the dark pools associated with high-speed financial trading. In each case, I examine the effect that operating in the dark seems to have on the network dynamics, and discuss consequences for the prediction of future behaviors in — and threats from — such systems.

BIOGRAPHY | Neil Johnson heads up the Complex Systems Initiative at the University of Miami, Florida, where he is also Professor of Physics. Before this, he was Professor of Physics for 15 years at Oxford University where he cofounded the CABDyN interdisciplinary research center on Complex Agent Based Dynamical Systems. He also cofounded the Oxford Center for Computational Finance (OCCF). He obtained his undergraduate degree from Cambridge University, and his PhD from Harvard University as a Kennedy Scholar. He has published more than 200 scientific research articles and two books (Financial Market Complexity and Simply Complexity) as well as serving on the Editorial Boards of many academic journals. In 1999 he presented the Royal Institution lectures on BBC television.