(546a) Controllability of Complex Networks for Sustainable System Dynamics

Authors: 
Benavides, P. T., University of Illinois at Chicago
Diwekar, U. D., Vishwamitra Research Institute
Cabezas, H., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency



Successful implementation of sustainability ideas in ecosystem management requires a basic understanding of the often non-linear and non-intuitive relationships among different dimensions of sustainability, particularly the system-wide implications of human actions.  This basic understanding further includes a sense of the time scale of possible future events and the limits of what is and is not likely to be possible. With this understanding, systematic approaches based on control theory can then be used to develop policy guidelines for the system.   Therefore, controllability of the system is very important to determining long term sustainability of the system.   A recent article in the journal Nature (1) presents a new analytical approach to study the controllability of complex systems.  We apply this approach to three dynamic systems developed to study the sustainability of our planet.  These three systems consist of an ecosystem based on wild and domesticated compartments, the ecosystem model with an industrial system and a simple economic model, and an integrated model involving the ecosystem, industrial systems, and energy producers.  We argue that controllability of this system is linked with the long term sustainability, and we present our arguments in the light of previous studies of these systems.

(1) Liu, Y. Y., Slotine, J. J., Barabási, A. Controllability of complex networks. Nature. 2011, 473, 167