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Dr. Sajal Das, the Daniel St. Clair Endowed Chair of Computer Science at Missouri S&T, is collaborating with researchers from the University of Oregon and the University of North Texas on a project titled “Cyberinfrastructure for Accelerating Innovation in Network Dynamics,” or CANDY. The project is funded through a four-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation.
S&T researchers are developing a new approach for updating dynamic networks – like those used to track viruses, connect people on social media and coordinate transportation systems – that they say is the first scalable, expandable and user-friendly solution to analyze who is using the network, where they are, and what information and channels they access. Software programs that analyze static networks are available, but researchers say a lack of cyberinfrastructure hampers innovative research in large-scale, complex, dynamic networks.
Das describes dynamic networks modeled as nodes and links. Your cell phone is a node, but unless you make a network connection, there is no link. If you switch off your phone or the battery dies, there is no longer a node. He says nodes and links come and go, making network management complex and challenging.
“The networks change all the time,” Das says. “Say there’s a disaster or a St. Louis Cardinals game or an accident, and people connect to get information. We don’t know how many people will be on a network at any given time. Similarly, for coronavirus tracing, it’s hard to know how many virus-infected people will come in contact at any given time within a proximity.”
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