What a perfect article to get back into Graph theory! Everyone should check out this Wired article ASAP! It is awesome, and looking at the syllabus, is covering a lot of what we are going to be discussing in the coming weeks.
THe article starts off talking about concepts from early in the semester, but they are applied in very complex ways that warrant some discussion. First and foremost, is the idea that we are a globalized world, and what that means is that instead of a plethora of components, Earth is now operating as a giant component. Everyone should know the definition of that, but basically that means that everything is connected to everything else, which is good! Right? Every person, town, and business is linked up to every other person, town, and business in some way or another. We want that, don’t we?
That depends. One perk of interconnectivity is definitely seen in terms of the availability of goods and services, and the ease that these G&S can travel across the Earth. However, this comes at a cost, and that is what this article discusses. What happens when a link breaks? What happens when a central node fails?
This Wired Article draws an analogy between the human body and the Earths giant network, saying that everything works with everything else, and if you break your hip, it could have catastrophic consequences in seemingly unrelated places. Similarly our globalized network risks one broken link destroying the entire network. This domino, or cascade risk grows with the size of a network, meaning that the larger your network, the more risk of the domino effect ruining the entire network.
There are pros and cons to our interconnectivity, and they are now a part of our existence. All we can do is understand the threats present to this network and work to understand how to combat them.