Network Science: Methods and Applications http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~dovrolis/Courses/NetSci/ It is often the case that complex systems, both living and man-made, can be represented as static or dynamic networks of many interacting components. These components are typically much simpler in terms of behavior or function than the overall system, implying that the additional complexity of the latter is an emergent network property.
The Emergence of Network Maps
To describe the detailed behavior of a system consisting of hundreds to billions of interacting components, we need a map of the system’s wiring diagram. In a social system this would require an accurate list of your friends, your friends’ friends, and so on. In the WWW this map tells us which webpages link to each other. In the cell the map corresponds to a detailed list of binding interactions and chemical reactions involving genes, proteins, and metabolites.
In the past, we lacked the tools to map these networks. It was equally difficult to keep track of the huge amount of data behind them. The Internet revolution, offering effective and fast data sharing methods and cheap digital storage, fundamentally changed our ability to collect, assemble, share, and analyze data pertaining to real networks.