Sage Center Lecture Series: Taming Complexity: From Network Science to Network Control


Albert-László Barabási

Date and Location

Thursday February 22, 2018 4:00pm
Sage Conference Room (PSYCH 1312)


Albert-László Barabási is both the Robert Gray Dodge Professor of Network Science and a Distinguished University Professor at Northeastern University, where he directs the Center for Complex Network Research, and holds appointments in the Departments of Physics and Computer Science,as well as in the Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women Hospital, and is a member of the Center for Cancer Systems Biology at Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  A Hungarian born native of Transylvania, Romania, he received his Masters in Theoretical Physics at the Eötvös University in Budapest, Hungary and was awarded a Ph.D. three years later at Boston University. Barabási's latest book is Network Science (Cambridge University Press, 2016). He has also authored Linked: The New Science of Networks (Perseus, 2002), currently available in fifteen languages, Bursts: The Hidden Pattern behind Everything We Do (Dutton, 2010) available in five languages, and is the co-editor of The Structure and Dynamics of Networks (Princeton, 2005). His work lead to the discovery of scale-free networks in 1999, and proposed the Barabási-Albert model to explain their widespread emergence in natural, technological and social systems, from the cellular telephone to the WWW or online communities.

Barabási is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. In 2005 he was awarded the FEBS Anniversary Prize for Systems Biology and in 2006 the John von Neumann Medal by the John von Neumann Computer Society from Hungary, for outstanding achievements in computer-related science and technology. In 2004 he was elected into the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and in 2007 into the Academia Europaea.  He received the C&C Prize from the NEC C&C Foundation in 2008. In 2009  APS chose him Outstanding Referee and the US National Academies of Sciences awarded him the 2009 Cozzarelli Prize. In 2011 Barabási was awarded the Lagrange Prize-CRT Foundation for his contributions to complex systems and awarded the Doctor Honoris Causa from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. He is an elected Fellow in AAAS (Physics) and is a 2013 Fellow of the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Barabási’s SAGE Center lecture is Thursday, February 22 at 4 p.m. in Psychology 1312 on the UCSB campus. It is free and open to the public. His description of this talk follows:


Our biological existence, our ability to communicate, to exchange goods and values, are guaranteed by numerous invisible networks, from the protein and genetic networks in our cells to the world wide web, Internet and financial and trade networks. I will show that the amazingly complex topology of these highly interconnected networks is the result of self-organizing processes governed by simple but generic laws. The ultimate proof of our understanding of these complex systems is reflected in our ability to control them. I will therefore explore the controllability of an arbitrary complex network, identifying the set of driver nodes whose time-dependent control can guide the system’s entire dynamics. By applying these tools to real networks, helps us unveil how the network topology determines controllability. Finally, I will discuss how network control informs our ability to predict neurons involved in specific processes in the brain, offering an avenue to experimentally test the predictions of network control.