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IU to spend $7 million studying complex networks

October 24, 2014

Indiana University will spend $7 million over the next three years to study the complex networks underlying the environment, the economy, technology and human health.

The newly created IU Network Science Institute will have more than 100 affiliated scholars working on projects. Those academics will come from medicine, the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities.

“Today, more than ever before, exploring the connections and relationships among our most complex networks—from the biological to the economic, political and social—is paramount to solving humankind’s most critical and challenging questions,” said Jorge Jose, IU’s vice president of research, in a written statement. “Indiana University has positioned itself to become the leading global center for understanding the complicated structure and evolving dynamics of the systems that drive our society.”

Networks can be associated with topics as diverse as cancer, schizophrenia, even the spreading of rumors, innovations or social unrest, noted IU’s press statement.

The new institute will be led by three IU professors: sociologist Bernice Pescosolido, psychologist Olaf Sporns, and Andrew Saykin, a professor of radiology at the IU School of Medicine and director of Indiana Alzheimer Disease Center.

To date, professors from 26 different departments across IU’s eight campuses statewide have said they want to participate in the institute’s work.

The institute plans to publicize its work through workshops and conferences and online network science education.

“We appreciate the university’s vision in supporting team science to elucidate the complex networks that comprise the human genome, brain interconnectivity, health care systems and society,” Saykin said in a written statement.

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