Networks Dominated By Rule of the Few

Social hubs like Facebook, can be directed from relatively few control points.


But researchers generally agree that the work advances the general understanding of how networks behave, a problem that humans, who often think hierarchically, seem to have a hard time with.

“We have very poor intuition about dynamic networks,” says Egerstedt, a control theory expert whose projects include how to manipulate swarms of mosquito-sized robots for environmental monitoring or intelligence gathering. “We are still so bad at driving lots of robots into a formation. I was trying to think of one thing in life where we have that kind of control, and the only thing I could think of is sheepherding. We have sheepherder dogs—driver nodes which are pretty good at controlling the herd with the help of a few leader female sheep. But that’s about as far as our intuition goes.”


 Follow U.S. News Science on Twitter.