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An Objective Measure of Network Resilience

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In this presentation we apply techniques from network science, game theory, evolutionary algorithms, and probability, to develope an objective measure of network risk. We used this objective measure of network risk as a way to quantify relative resilience between alternative network architectures. In this study we call a network resilient when it continues to operate after suffering externally inflicted damage from a physical attack. Repair and restoration of the network is assumed to occur after the attack. This manifestation of resilience is representative of the way in which public utility networks respond to natural disasters and terrorist attacks. One way network managers make their networks more resilient is by provisioning the network with additional redundant pathways before any attack. However, as will be shown, naively considered redundancy can actually make the network less resilient. This article, using the described view of network resilience, develops the following concepts: methods to assign structural value to network objects where the value reflects its importance to the network routing scheme in use, development of the mathematical foundations of a network risk measure, use of the network risk measure to compare relative resilience between two network architectures, and the development of a procedure to efficiently evolve existing networks into more resilient networks. Network examples are given that demonstrate the practical impact of these results. This paper does not address resilience achieved through self-healing or self-organizing mechanisms that are typical of biological systems, but it does provide some foundational work towards these ends.

Bio: Fletcher Wicker received his B.S., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics all from the Pennsylvania State University in 1968, 1969, and 1975 respectively. From 1974 to 1977 he worked as an operations research analyst for the Naval Personnel Research and Development Center in San Diego, CA. In 1977 he joined the Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, CA. His career at Aerospace has included development of Kalman filter program for the initial GPS satellites, mathematical and statistical analysis and program development, and communication systems development. His current research interests include wireless network performance evaluation and control. During the academic year of 2007-2008 he was a visiting scholar at both the Statistical Laboratory and the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, UK. His research interests include network information theory, probability, stochastic processes, communication systems, networking, stochastic networks analysis, analytic network performance evaluation, traffic modeling and analysis, mobile ad-hoc wireless networks, MIMO and cooperative communications, and public safety communications.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Systems Research Group Seminar series.

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