Networks form the backbone of our modern society. Examples include everything from transport networks and energy networks to the infrastructure of the internet and other networks we use for communication. The complexity of these networks, which is attributable to their size and the many factors and uncertainties involved when you want to model and rely on such networks, requires an advanced type of mathematics and very efficient algorithms. This is the primary focus of the 50 mathematicians and computer scientists from the NETWORKS consortium.
NETWORKS was launched in 2014 by the University of Amsterdam, Eindhoven Technical University, Leiden University and the Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science. Within NETWORKS, new stochastic models and algorithms are developed with a focus on large-scale networks. The ultimate goal is to better understand such complex, volatile networks, create more reliable models of them, and better optimise and manage network processes.
In 2011 the consortium received a Gravitation grant totalling €22.7 million from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), which provided the project with ten years of basic funding. These funds will now be boosted by a grant of around €1.5 million from the European Union’s Horizon2020 programme. NETWORKS will use the money to set up a programme to train 14 young and talented PhD students in this branch of mathematics and computer science.
The consortium’s grant application made an exceptional impression on the evaluation committee. They praised the multidisciplinary nature of the consortium, with collaboration between mathematicians and computer scientists as well as between academic, social and industrial partners, along with an active outreach programme for schools.