OR FORUM—Catching the "Network Science" Bug: Insight and Opportunity for the Operations Researcher

David L. Alderson
2008 Operations Research  
Recent efforts to develop a universal view of complex networks have created both excitement and confusion about the way in which knowledge of network structure can be used to understand, control, or design system behavior. This paper offers perspective on the emerging field of "network science" in three ways. First, it briefly summarizes the origins, methodological approaches, and most celebrated contributions within this increasingly popular field. Second, it contrasts the predominant
more » ... ve in the network science literature (that abstracts away domain-specific function and instead focuses on graph-theoretic measures of system structure and dynamics) with that of engineers and practitioners of decision science (who emphasize the importance of network performance, constraints, and trade-offs). Third, it proposes optimizationbased reverse engineering to address some important open questions within network science from an operations research perspective. We advocate for increased, yet cautious, participation in this field by operations researchers.
doi:10.1287/opre.1080.0606 fatcat:y4jnyegc3ndwfosdxy7b7dvnaa