Crime and terror: Mathematical exploration and modelling of dark networks

Thursday, November 17, 2011 (all day)

Speaker: Sasha Gutfraind (University of Texas at Austin)
Applied Mathematics Colloquium


The study of Complex Networks (CN), that is, unstructured graphs, has originated in the 1970s in sociological research and has since been applied to problems such as infrastructure security, cybersecurity, epidemiology, and enriched many others. A very special subfield of CN is the problem of dark networks: how are these networks organized, structured, and how might they be disrupted? I will report on some of the most important approaches in this area, and some of my own results. Dark networks are often organized in a very unique way as compared to other networks and even other social networks. Namely, they are organized into cells, and this organization is consistent with two simple computational models. Despite those advances, there are many open problems in the field, primarily the problem of predicting network evolution both for open social networks and for dark networks who might be subject to attack.


Gutfraind received a bachelor’s and a master’s in applied mathematics from the University of Waterloo and a PhD from Cornell University. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin where he develops mathematical models to illuminate problems in complex networks, public health and security using methods from the theories of complex systems, mathematical optimization and dynamical systems.

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